State News

Funeral doesn't end questions about man's shooting death

Posted March 4, 2016

— While Apostle Darnell Dixon Sr., senior pastor of Bible Way Temple, said he hoped Friday's funeral service would help the community begin to heal after the shooting of a man Monday by a Raleigh police officer, many mourners still had questions about the final minutes of the man they gathered to bury.

A standing-room crowd packed Bible Way Temple for the funeral of Akiel Denkins, 24.

"This occasion, prayerfully, will heal," Dixon told them. "It will bring closure to this young man's life."

But afterward, some questioned Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown's report on his shooting.

"Until there has been a full, unbiased investigation, while we may lay Akiel's body to rest, we cannot lay this issue to rest," said Rev. William J. Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP.

Deck-Brown's report, released on Thursday, said Denkins, wanted on a drug charge, ran from Officer D.C. Twiddy, and the two struggled before Twiddy saw Denkins reach for a gun in his waistband.

"Officer Twiddy, fearing that Mr. Denkins was either going to shoot him or attempt to take his duty weapon, stepped back and fired additional shots at Mr. Denkins, who still had the firearm in his hand," the report said.

A preliminary autopsy showed Denkins had four gunshot wounds, to his chest, left forearm, right upper arm and right shoulder, but did little to quell suspicion about the circumstances around his death.

A representative of the Raleigh Police Protective Association, which represents Twiddy, said the report provided important information to the public.

"We believe it's consistent with what Officer Twiddy told his attorney, and it's consistent with what the investigation will reveal ultimately," RPPA spokesman Rick Armstrong said.

John Midgette, of the Police Benevolent Association, went even farther in defense of Twiddy.

"We have a convicted felon, who is in a gang, with a stolen firearm point it at a police officer," he said. "It has all of the elements of a situation where the officer had to defend his life and the life of others."

Barber and NAACP attorney Irving Joyner were not satisfied.

"It's not over by any stretch of the imagination," Joyner said. "We're still receiving information. We're still seeking information."

That complete report, from the State Bureau of Investigation, could take several months. The SBI will forward its findings to Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman.


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  • Geneva Smith Mar 6, 2016
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    Paul, please ask why is some in that black community embracing the man that sold drugs to their children. I can tell you not all blacks care or even think it was a pro testable event. I bet even some that live in that same community didn't think it was unjustifiable. They are probably afraid to speak out. At any rate Every black person in Raleigh or NC don't support criminals, even if they are family members The people who are embracing him, probably didn't mind his life style, or cared, sad but true.

  • Janet Ghumri Mar 5, 2016
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    The energy that goes into these protests and marches could be channeled into parenting.

  • Paul Weaver Mar 5, 2016
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    Yes, there are still many questions still to be answered, such as: Why didn't he go out and find a real job to support his kids? Why did he run from police if he was such a good man? Why was he carrying a gun, as he was a convicted felon? How did he obtain the (stolen) gun? Lastly, why is the black community embracing the life of a man selling drugs to their children?

  • Carol Smith Mar 5, 2016
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    View quoted thread


  • Bob Owens Mar 5, 2016
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    It would be nice if, for once, Reverend Barber and the NAACP actually cared about the content of the character of of the criminals they routinely try to lionize. Instead, they seem to reflexively operate from the premise that if the suspect is black and the officer is white, that the officer MUST be at fault.

    This is, by definition, racism of the first order.

    William Barber and the NAACP should be reviled with the same contempt we hold for Klansmen, and WRAL should not be providing them a pulpit to push their divisive, conspiratorial, and damaging views.

  • Carol Smith Mar 5, 2016
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    the questions have been answered. if the mother didn't believe the autopsy report, she could have viewed he body, but she chose to accuse insead. ching a ching.Barber is now looking for trouble and inflaming he situation.

  • Doug Smallen Mar 5, 2016
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    I'm sure Mom doesn't believe the Autopsy report, some ambulance Chaser will be available for her no doubt. What is good about a drug dealing gang member anyways.

  • Ryan Walsh Mar 5, 2016
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    Move on WRAL...

  • Matt Nickeson Mar 5, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Moral relativism can only stretch so far. It's not outside reason to infer that someone who willfully and consistently engages in a drug and gang lifestyle is a bad person and father. These actions bring nothing but fear, death, and misery to his family or community. Unlike most commenters on here I have seen several lifetimes worth of death and would never wish that upon anyone. However, I can't allow to go unchallenged the legitimization and lionization of someone who has only acted to the detriment of our society.

  • Sara Hauser Mar 5, 2016
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    Too bad Barber and Joyner are not satisfied. The ME's report obviously doesn't support the shot in the back theory. More details coming as the investigation continues. They will never be satisfied if the police officer is vindicated of wrng-doing.