An independent autopsy states that a Raleigh, N.C. police officer fatally shot 24-year-old Akiel Denkins in the back, contrary to what the police department has stated.
The results of the autopsy were announced at a press conference by the family, along with their attorneys, and members of the North Carolina NAACP, yesterday.
“An initial review by the family, their legal team, and a forensic pathologist, indicates Mr. Denkins was shot from the back,” said Priscilla McCoy, one of the family’s attorneys.
Denkins, who is black, was fatally shot on February 29th of this year, by Officer D.C. Twiddy, who is white, at the conclusion of a foot chase, according to Twiddy.
Twiddy, a Senior Officer of the Raleigh Police Department, claims he recognized Denkins as having an active arrest warrant, and decided to leave his car and give chase alone through Denkins’ home neighborhood of South Park.
A preliminary report released by the Raleigh Chief of Police, Cassandra Deck-Brown, claims that Denkins was reaching for a gun in his waistband in a struggle with Twiddy, that a stolen gun was found near where Denkins was killed, and that Denkins was shot in the chest, with no mention of being shot in the back.
In addition to the discrepancy as to whether Denkins was shot in back between the official police narrative and independent evidence, witnesses dispute that Denkins had a gun. Eye-witnesses assert both that Denkins was unarmed and that he shot in the back.
McKoy said she has “significant questions” about the DA’s version of events, and asked for “anyone with information regarding the homicide of Akiel Denkins to please come forward and to cooperate with our family and their investigators.”
“They killed my son for no reason,” Rolanda Byrd, Denkins’ mother, has said. “For what? For nothing.”
In the wake of Denkins’ being killed, the community has responded with a demonstration that marched from the site of the shooting to the Wake County Courthouse in downtown, chanting “black lives matter,” and in a community forum addressing problems with the police and other problems in southeast Raleigh.
Diana Powell, who organized the forum, said “We can no longer sit idly by and say it’s not my problem.”
(Header image via MySanAntionio.com)