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Denkins' shooting death sheds light on issues in south Raleigh

Posted March 7

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— Monday marked one week since the shooting death of a black man by a white Raleigh police officer and community members came together at a forum to discuss ways to improve the community and the lives of those who live there.

Monday night, people from the southeast Raleigh community said they want to use the death of 24-year-old Akiel Denkins’ as a means for change.

“We can no longer sit idly by and say it’s not my problem,” said forum organizer Diana Powell.

A group of about 40 people gathered in the small downstairs room at Revelation Church to face the problem they said can’t be ignored.

“Last week was really a wake-up call for us as a community,” said Minister William Cooper III.

Police said Denkins, who was wanted on drug charges, ran from Senior Officer D.C. Twiddy and was reaching for a gun when Twiddy shot him behind a house near Bragg Street. Since his death, issues in the southeast Raleigh community where he was killed have gotten more attention.

“We know one of the issues we have is our young men and women do not have jobs,” said Powell.

Powell, of Justice Served North, has been holding community meetings at Revelation Church for the past 69 weeks to address the issues plaguing south Raleigh. Monday night, there were more people than usual, following Denkins’ death.

Those in attendance said they’re frustrated by joblessness, a lack of opportunities, and police-community relations.

Judge Vince Rozier answered questions from an audience on how the legal system plays into community issues.

“There are too many people who I see in the court system who are dying in the street and we need to do something,” he said.

The group didn’t have a concrete answer for what should be done, but many who came out said meetings like the one held Monday night are the way to figure it all out.

“[I’m] just looking for something I can take back to my community, where I can take positive men and show some of these folks before they make bad life decisions that there’s another way,” said Rodney Long.


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  • Tracy Watson Mar 8, 2016
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    Lack of jobs? I'm sorry, I don't buy that. Lack of trying to find one perhaps.

  • Geneva Smith Mar 8, 2016
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    Its long over due for Blacks to stand on our/ their own feet. We need to fill in the gaps, and like someone mention before, stop depending on the white man for everything. That means blacks need to start businesses, good ones, and not just low paying jobs. You probably can count the Black owned businesses on one hand that are not hair salons or barber shops, we need more than that and those gaps will be filled, unemployment for blacks will decrease if more blacks owned businesses. This is the conversations I'm having with my twenty something son, nieces, nephews, and their friends. We as black people have a lot of successful blacks making millions , but its mostly individual wealth. We have the sports stars, entertainment stars, singers, rappers, President, lots of important people in high positions, but where are The Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, K - brothers, people who create jobs for millions. The problem is Blacks don't have any of those people. (at my limit)

  • Lynnette Escovado Mar 8, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Batber will be out of a job if there is healing in the black community. His absence is self preservation. A typical liberal!

  • Lynnette Escovado Mar 8, 2016
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    So true, one way to invoke change is do something different... quit listening to race hustlers and voting for liberal politicians who are creating an economy that doesn't produce jobs for blacks and rewards government dependency. Its a sad mess. Liberal politicians treat the African American Community as a whole like children, just give the community enough to keep their votes but not lose their voting block. Hilary Clinton, a criminal.... yet she has secured a huge portion of the black vote. She needs them now and will reward them token government handouts after elected. Look at what has happened to Chicago, Baltimore, Flint, Detroit, on and on, after decades of liberal leadership. Its horrendous.

  • Arron Lee Mar 8, 2016
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    I don't think it is the parents preaching racism at home. Black churches these days are preaching it. Why do think Barber and Sharpton call themselves "Reverend"?

  • Chance Loria Mar 8, 2016
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    Geez WRAL ... Give it a rest already!!!

    And btw there is absolutely no reason to be crying that they have no jobs. Downtown Raleigh has never been as bustling and thriving as it is now. They have more opportunity within walking distance than anybody in this county. I guess first you have to get rid of the drugs, the gangs, the guns, make yourself presentable and have a good work ethic in order to be hireable. But stop all this crying about lack of opportunity. Geographically they have better opportunity than most.

  • Salatheal Hasty Mar 8, 2016
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    The Black community has problems that they don't want to address. Just like all other communities such as poverty,drugs,murder,gang members etc. The white community blames the black and vice versa. We need to accept the fact that there will always be a racial divide in the country. Racism is a taught behavior and unfortunately some parents are still preaching racism at home on both sides.

  • Phillip Mozingo Mar 8, 2016
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    I've said it before and I'll say it again. Black leaders have to quit the blame game and step up to the plate in their communities. Black leaders are doing NOTHING to promote jobs and good pay for good people. Crime in the south section is rampant. Nobody to blame here but criminals taking advantage of the situation. They'd rather sell dope on the corner or rob somebody to get what they want because they refuse to get a job and work for it. Black community leaders need to address these problems. Then and only then will you see these communities change for the better.

  • Roy Jones Mar 8, 2016
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    WRAL is your total outlook is blame everyone but the person or people who done wrong. Their will never be any descent merchant store in low income high crime area, look at Kroger in south east Raleigh. With out this type of store no local employment for people who are trying to better their life. A very nice store and products were flying off the shelf's by stealing not selling. The people doing the stealing doesn't care the prices will be higher for the people who shop their as long as I gots mine.

  • Victoria Clark Mar 8, 2016
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    Southeast Raleigh is on of the worst places to find yourself living but welfare and democratic polices have created these communities. As you see there are very few people their who want to create a change. When it was said the officer shot someone in the back there were hundreds of people. I feel sorry for the good people in South Raleigh and the kids mostly.