Denkins' shooting death sheds light on issues in south Raleigh
Posted March 7, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.