Funeral doesn't end questions about man's shooting death
Posted March 4, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.