Community gathers to seek answers in death of Akiel Denkins
Posted March 3, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.