Denkins family plans to request DOJ investigation

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The family spoke Saturday (WTVD)

The family of a man shot and killed by a Raleigh police officer says there are inconsistencies with Wake County District Attorney's Office report of the investigation. The NAACP agrees. The family of Akiel Denkins and the NAACP plan to submit a request to have the U.S Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigate.

The Denkins family maintains that Akiel Denkins was shot in the back by Raleigh Police Officer D.C. Twiddy. Saturday, the family announced at Bible Way Temple Church in Raleigh that they plan to take this investigation to the federal government.

At issue, District Attorney Lorrin Freeman's report concluding that Officer Twiddy shot Denkins on Feb. 29 in self-defense. The family says that is inconsistent with evidence from the nine-page autopsy report.

According to the report, Denkins was shot four times -- in his right shoulder, right arm, left arm, and right chest.

"That report clearly states that Akiel Denkins was shot in his back, right shoulder," said Priscilla McKoy, Denkins family's attorney. "He was also shot in his right arm and right armpit from the side. There were three bullets that were fired downward into Akiel's body. Those bullets traveled down across and to the front of his body."

But District Attorney Freeman says the physical evidence supports the officer's story that Denkins tried to pull a gun as the officer was attempting to tackle him, and that's when Twiddy began firing. "The shot that was, you know, in the back of the shoulder or at the top of the back of the shoulder was not a shot that was fired from directly behind Mr. Denkins," says Freeman.

The NAACP and Denkins family also argue there's no proof that Denkins was armed.

Additionally, they believe the DA is only relying on Officer Twiddy's testimony. Before the altercation, investigators say Twiddy was trying to arrest Denkins for an outstanding warrant.

"Even if there were this (criminal) background record and convictions. He (Denkins) had constitutional rights that this officer was bound to respect and honor," says Irving Joyner, attorney of the NC NAACP. "It's the violation of those rights that are at issue at this point."

Rolanda Byrd, Denkins' mother, responded to critics of his arrest history, and question why Denkins ran away from Officer Twiddy during the initial arrest attempt.

"I'm not a drug user. I go to work every day. I taught him (Akiel) the right way," she said. "He chose to go a different route. There were chances for that officer to take a different route and change this situation right here."
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