A Black man was shot and killed in Raleigh, North Carolina Monday by city police officers after they chased the alleged felony drug suspect. Akiel Denkins, 24, was unarmed according to his mother and witness statements, the Huffington Post reports.
D.C. Twiddy, a White officer reportedly shot Denkins as he tried to climb a fence during the brief chase. Officials investigating the incident say a gun was found “in close proximity” to Denkins, but a witness claims the victim was unarmed, the Raleigh News & Observer reports:
Truvalia Kearney of Zebulon said she was visiting someone in the neighborhood and was standing near Denkins in front of the store when a police car pulled up. Denkins, Kearney said, “took off running” behind the store and jumped a chain-link fence into the backyard of a house on East Street.
“The officer jumped the fence and fell down,” she said in an interview. “He pulled his gun out and started shooting. He [Denkins] got shot in the back.”
Kearney disputed police reports that Denkins was armed. “That’s a lie because I [saw] it,” she said. “If he had a gun, he didn’t pull it out.”
Denkins’ mother, Rolanda Byrd, identified her son’s body, according to an exclusive report by local outlet WRAL.Twiddy, 29, is a seven-year-veteran of the force, and has the rank of senior officer.
Raleigh Chief of Police Cassandra Deck-Brown released a statement discussing the details of the shooting, calling the incident a “sad, sad, day,” while promising a thorough investigation.