Photo Essay: Ghost Town

By Alyssa Alexsonshk, Correspondent

One day after the Jayland Walker grand jury announced that no charges would be brought against the officers who shot the Akron resident during a traffic stop, businesses, schools and other organizations took precautions by closing, switching to remote learning/work and boarding up windows around downtown.

Attending a meeting on campus was a strange experience. It looked like a ‘ghost town.’ The silence was eerie.

According to Fox8 news, a protest march organized by FreedomBloc that began around 2:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church in Akron, attracted several dozen protestors, who marched to the John F. Seiberling Federal Building, Akron’s federal courthouse, and back to the church by 4:00 p.m. The protestors disbanded at 4:30 p.m.

The City of Akron’s public information website Akron Updates listed a march on The University of Akron campus starting at 4 p.m. in Coleman Commons, but a student sent video footage of a deserted commons at that time and after. Update: Students who were part of the march were gathered inside a building working on signs for the march. They did eventually take to the Commons.

The photos submitted evoke questions: Where is everyone? What kept protestors home at this time? Was it the new evidence presented to the grand jury, which is now publicly available? Something else? When will the city resume operations as normal? How long will businesses and others suffer losses due to the grand jury decision?

And the biggest question of all may be, what caused this young man with no criminal record to run from police and fire a gun during a routine traffic stop?

Some answers may come, but we may never truly know the answer to the last one.

Note: This story was originally published under editorial team and without the name of the photographer, because Alyssa Alexsonshk wished to remain anonymous. She has since granted permission to share her identity as author and photographer.