Local News

Community gathers to seek answers in death of Akiel Denkins

Posted March 3, 2016

— Raleigh residents gathered at a community meeting Thursday evening led by local pastors and the NAACP in response to the death of Akiel Denkins, who was shot and killed by a Raleigh police officer on Monday.

During the meeting, the 24-year-old’s preliminary autopsy results were released, which concluded that Denkins suffered four gunshot wounds, including one to his right chest, with injuries to his lungs and heart, and one each in the left forearm, right upper arm and right shoulder.

William Cooper, minister of the Upper Room Church, said the community wants the truth no matter what.

“We’ve asked for a thorough investigation,” Cooper said. “We’ve asked for the truth.”

At the town hall meeting hosted by state leaders at the Bible Way Temple, in Raleigh, the Denkins case was mentioned several times. Senator Dan Blue said he thinks the community will accept the new findings.

“I think the community is sophisticated and mature enough to accept the facts no matter what the facts are,” he said. “The important thing is that the facts be accurate.”

A separate report released by the Raleigh Police Department on Thursday said that Denkins and Senior Officer D.C. Twiddy struggled, and that Denkins was reaching for a gun when he was shot.

Some in the community, like Wanda Hunter, of Raleigh, say they don’t trust the results. Hunter said she is bothered that the autopsy differs greatly from witness accounts.

“I find it very suspicious,” she said.

NAACP attorney Irving Joyner also voiced concerns about the findings in the investigation.

“Witnesses have come forward to indicate that when the scene was blocked off, there was a cleaning up of the shooting sight that obscured exactly what happened there,” Joyner said.

Cooper said that although preliminary information has been released, there is still a long road ahead in the investigation.

“This is just the beginning phase, so we’re looking forward to receiving even more,” he said.

A funeral is scheduled for Denkins on Friday at 1 p.m. at the Bible Way Temple.


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  • Phillip Mozingo Mar 4, 2016
    user avatar

    Oh Lord, what race is the coroner? What race is the investigator? What race is the responding officers? What race was the ambulance driver? Give me a break! Seriously? It doesn't matter what the investigation brings forth, the black community will not accept it as truth. Race, Race, Race, Race. I'm sick of this race thing. Send a black officer to apprehend a black offender and a white officer to arrest a white offender. PLEASE!

  • Lori Coble Mar 4, 2016
    user avatar

    The family received the body, I'm sure that they could tell if there were more than 4 gun shot wounds and where they were so why would the people interviewed NOT trust the autopsy?!?! If there were evidence to support that he was in fact shot in the back numerous times while running away I'm sure it would had surfaced by now! 40 witnesses and NONE of them recorded it? Obviously the medical examiner is being truthful and the witnesses lied! I agree with Geneva Smith, parents need to put a stronger emphasis on education and hard work; set good examples for your children and be a good influence!

  • Geneva Smith Mar 4, 2016
    user avatar

    Eye witness account has been proven over and over again NOT to be a reliable source in these types of cases, its too much chaos going on. The evidence in this case is clear, he resisted, had a gun and was killed. The young man chose his path, unfortunately it lead to his early demise. I hope these people will start telling their children education and hard work is the best way of life. Show them, be an example and maybe they will not be influence or seduced by criminal activities.

  • Byrd Ferguson Mar 3, 2016
    user avatar

    "“The important thing is that the facts be accurate.”

    But witnesses said he was shot in the back! That must mean the person doing the autopsy was dishonest.

    Facts: A convicted drug dealer was shot by police when he tried to grab the policeman's gun.

  • Amy LaFluer Mar 3, 2016
    user avatar

    "bothered that the autopsy differs greatly from witness accounts"
    I would be bothered too.... If people lied saying someone was shot in the back 7 times....And none of it was true...