The past 24 hours in Raleigh, North Carolina, have been tense as the community responded in outrage to the police shooting of Akiel Denkins, 24. Denkins was wanted on prior charges of possession of cocaine when witnesses stated he fled from police. While he was running away, he attempted to climb a fence that separated a store and the backyard of a residence. Multiple witnesses have stated that unidentified officers shot him at least six times.
“He was running away. They couldn’t catch him so they shot at him seven times. Everybody seen [sic] it. They ain’t going down with this one. They ain’t gonna get away with this one, there’s at least 40 eyewitnesses out here,” said his distraught mother, Rolanda Byrd.
Police claim to have found a gun near Denkins’ body.
“Shortly after noon today a Raleigh Police Department officer engaged in a foot pursuit in the vicinity of Bragg and East streets while trying to detain an adult male suspect who was wanted for a felony drug charge. During the course of the pursuit, the suspect was shot and killed by the officer. Initially, it is known that a firearm was located in close proximity to the deceased suspect. That weapon, along with all other elements available at the scene will be processed,” said Raleigh Police Cheif Cassandra Deck-Brown during a press conference.
Denkins was a convicted felon and had three prior arrests on drug charges. In addition, he failed to attend a court hearing in early February, which led to an arrest warrant being issued.
The neighborhood was horrified and angered by what they saw and soon crowds of people took to the streets with chants of “No justice, no peace” as well as “Black lives matter.” Soon, a heavy police presence swarmed into the neighborhood as angry residents peacefully protested the shooting.
“’Along with many community members in Raleigh, we are alarmed by these reports, trying to learn more details about what happened, and express our deepest condolences to Akiel’s family. What we do know is that far too many people of color are victims of wrongful targeting and excessive use of force by law enforcement officers across the country, and North Carolina is not immune to that reality,” said a spokesman for North Carolina’s American Civil Liberties Union.
North Carolina state investigators have now taken over the investigation into the shooting.