Hundreds of protesters gathered in a Raleigh neighborhood Monday where, hours earlier, a white police officer shot and killed a 24-year-old black man fleeing arrest on a suspected drug charge.
Raleigh police did not immediately identify the dead man, but Raleigh resident Rolanda Byrd told the News & Observer that the shooting victim was her son, Akiel Denkins. Police identified the officer as Senior Officer D.C. Twiddy, 29. A police department statement said he has been employed since November 2009 and is assigned to the Field Operations Division.
“In accordance with departmental policy, Officer Twiddy has been placed on administrative duty pending the completion of the investigation by the State Bureau Investigation,” the statement said.
Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown told reporters that the suspect was running from an officer who sought to arrest him for a drug offense. He was shot near a convenience store just after 12 p.m. A gun was found near the body, according to Deck-Brown.
Late Monday, a crowd gathered at the scene of the shooting and chanted “black lives matter.” The American Civil Liberties Union’s North Carolina chapter posted on Twitter that a vigil would be held for the victim.
Byrd, the suspect’s mother, said when she arrived on the scene she learned that her son’s body was behind a neighborhood store. She said “four or five people” told her Denkins was unarmed and running from police when “he was shot seven times by a white officer with a bald head.”
Deck-Brown said the State Bureau of Investigation and the police department will investigate and send a report to the City Council within five business days.
“I ask for your prayers for the families, for our police department and, most of all, for our community,” said Deck-Brown, who is black.
The Raleigh City Council was scheduled on Monday to discuss whether to start requiring police officers to wear body cameras, but the issue was removed from the agenda after the shooting, according to the N&O.
“…Far too many people of color are victims of wrongful targeting and excessive use of force by law enforcement officers across the country, and North Carolina is not immune to that reality,” said Sarah Preston, the group’s acting executive director.
The North Carolina NAACP said it would hold a news conference Tuesday morning near the scene of the shooting.