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Lawyer: Autopsy indicates Denkins shot in the back

Posted March 12

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— A lawyer for the family of Akiel Denkins— a man shot and killed by Raleigh police on Feb. 29—said Saturday that an autopsy by an independent forensic pathologist revealed the 24-year-old was shot in the back.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, along with lawyers for the family, discussed their findings concerning Denkins’ death at a press conference Saturday afternoon in Raleigh.

Denkins, who was shot by Raleigh police officer D.C. Twiddy, was hit four times, in the chest, left forearm, upper right arm and shoulder, according to a preliminary autopsy report released on March 3.

“What we can say, based on initial review by our forensic pathologist, is that there was a shot from the back to the front shoulder area,” said Scott Holmes, an attorney representing Denkins’ family. “There were other shots. The only reason it is appropriate from a legal point of view to share that now is because of the impression released by the state and the officer, and the prosecutor that have created an impression that there were shots from the front.”

A preliminary report from Raleigh police said Twiddy struggled with Denkins, and that Denkins was reaching for a gun when he was shot.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said last week that the initial findings by the state medical examiner are just one piece to the investigation.

A spokesperson with the Raleigh Police Department told WRAL News the department will not comment on the NAACP press conference.


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  • Janet Ghumri Mar 14, 2016
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    Really?? You say you never judge others or wish bad things on others, but then you say that "in this case I would like for ya'll to lose someone close ".
    What kind of person would wish something like that? The comments posted here are in response to the events as they have been reported.
    "The comments here are from whites" this , in itself, Mr. Lamario Kelly tells me that you are basing your opinion of the statements by looking at the race of the responding people. So in essence, you are guilty of racism you claim against others.
    "White ppl have always had a double standard", do you think that maybe the double standard is reflected in your own mirror?
    This young man died. He was shot. This was awful, and I feel for the family. I would not wish someone else to go through something like this, regardless of their race.

  • Lance Cotten Mar 14, 2016
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    At the end of the day this is about what kind of $$ figure they can get out of the city of Raleigh etc.... This was NEVER about race, he was a convicted felon with a STOLEN handgun and this man was in the wrong and was going for his STOLEN gun and the officer acted accordingly. It's a life and death situation and the cop has seconds to respond to the threat. It's either your life or mine. If the boy had complied he would be alive today.

  • Steve Faulkner Mar 14, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    But it's not disturbing that you walk(ed) the same streets as a convicted cocaine dealer??

  • Will Sonnett Mar 13, 2016
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    Well played. Make your accusations on a weekend so they have time to fester in public before there can be any response. It's the perfect game plan to get the media to spread unproven assertions and add fuelbto the fire.

  • Sara Hauser Mar 13, 2016
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    Totally agree with you Jerry Powell. I have asked the exact same questions.

  • Bob Owens Mar 13, 2016
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    I shot a carjacker six times Friday afternoon in the desert outside Paulden, Arizona. He turned as he fell, so that my final shot was technically from "behind" in the gunfight (Simunitions wax bullets in closely monitored professional training).

    That final shot was entirely defensible from a legal, ethical and moral perspective. Your brain simply can't react and get your finger off the trigger when someone turns in a fraction of a second and you've already sent the "fire" command to your hand.

    It would not be surprising at all for Denkins to take a shot to the rear quarter of his shoulder if he spun due to the other shots being fired. That's actually very common in self-defense shootings. People move in fights, almost like they don't want to be shot.

    Perhaps Denkins shouldn't have attempted to murder a cop?

  • Jermaine Cotten Mar 13, 2016
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    The majority of the the comments posted shows just how divided as country we really are! Sure this young man wad a criminal. Sure he was a gang member. Sure he carried a gun. But maybe, just maybe he had the potential to change his life. Maybe he wasn't raised withe same morals as you and I. Maybe he never had any positive male role models in his life. Maybe he had some undiagnosed mental issues. Maybe at this time in life he was just a bad person. Does any of thus warrant a death penalty? I wasn't there the day in question and it would be unintelligent for me to assume that police don't lie. I AM NOT A NAACP SUPPORTER, however they asking the RPD for transparency and thus far has yet to be seen. Everyone speaks of how troubled this young man was, but is anyone concerned with the TRUTH of what happened? RPD has been rather vague about the specifics of this case. Where exactly was the gun? Why couldn't the state examiner's office comment about entrance and exit wounds?

  • Jerry Powell Mar 13, 2016
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    So, my question here is, why would the OCME lie about this? They have no dog in this fight. Even if he was shot 22 times in the back, OCME wouldn't gain a single thing by either shading the truth or blatantly lying. They will still get the same funding next year that they got this year, and the ME and assistant that performed it will get the same paycheck next month regardless of the report, and they all know that that check can go away for lying.
    So now I will ask, who stands to gain from blatantly lying about this??? FOLLOW THE MONEY!

  • Doug Bogard Mar 13, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Well put Ben.

  • Matt Nickeson Mar 13, 2016
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    He was gone long before he was shot by the police officer. Where were you and all the people that loved him when he started dealing and running with a gang? Where was everyone to help him and straighten him out after faced his first felony charge? The second? The third? If these comments offend you then don't read them. But, maybe, you should look a little closer instead of blaming everything on someone, or something, else. Believe it or not but not everything is racist.