Once again the standard plan of victim blaming has surfaced in the police shooting of Akiel Denkins in Raleigh, North Carolina. Denkins was shot while fleeing from police this past Monday. According to multiple witnesses, Denkins was outrunning police and was jumping over fences while fleeing. It was when he was scrambling over a second fence that a White police officer, identified as Raleigh Senior Officer D.C. Twiddy, 29, lost his footing, fell to the ground and opened fire. Denkins was struck at least six times according to some but an official account of his injuries has not been released.
Denkins had a long history of police encounters and arrests. According to multiple sources, he has been arrested 16 times and faced 26 charges since the age of 19. These charges included assaulting women, resisting officers, carrying a concealed gun, and possession with intent to sell and distribute cocaine. Recently, he was convicted of nine misdemeanors and missed a court appearance in early February.
Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown stated that a gun was found near Denkins’ body and that an internal affairs investigation as well as a state investigation is underway.
The police shooting is being reported in international media and is slowly spreading to mainstream American media as protests have erupted in Raleigh.
The Rev. William Barber II of the NC chapter of the NAACP has expressed concern, stating: “If one is running away, that is not a license to kill,” and has called for a clear and transparent investigation.
When the investigation is complete findings will be turned over to Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman to determine if criminal charges should be filed against Twiddy.
“I was put here by the people of Wake County as their District Attorney and part of my job is to make sure that everyone is held accountable under the law. The law should be applied equally whether you are a police officer or someone else,” said Freeman.
Officer Twiddy has been placed on administrative leave as the investigation proceeds.
Small crowds of demonstrators are protesting throughout the city and calling for a swift decision from authorities.