Activists in downtown Raleigh call for police reform

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Activists gathered in downtown Raleigh (WTVD)

Some Raleigh activists are demanding police reform within the Raleigh Police Department. Outside of the Wake County Justice Center Saturday, the small group raised their voices demanding police accountability and equality in policing.

"Everybody hurts from racism," said Bridgett Burge from the group Showing Up for Racial Justice. "I don't want my white son and my white daughter to grow up believing that they are any better than anybody else because of the color of their skin."

The demonstrators say they are still hurting from Wake County district attorney Lorrin Freeman's decision not to prosecute Officer D.C. Twiddy in the February shooting death of Akiel Denkins. Freeman determined Officer Twiddy acted in self-defense.

But Rolanda Byrd, Denkins mother, told the crowd she still believes her son was shot unjustly. "We have to stop police brutality and it's going to stop with the death of Akiel Denkins," Byrd said.

The groups - Showing Up for Racial Justice and Police Accountability Community Taskforce (PACT) say Raleigh Police arrests practices funnels youth into the criminal justice system.

They are asking the city's Police Chief, Cassandra Deck-Brown, Mayor Nancy McFarland and city council to take measures in reforming the police department.

Among the requests: police body cameras, a community oversight board, a reduction in searches and arrests for marijuana, anti-bias police training, and equity policing practices.

Akiba Byrd, executive director of PACT organized Saturday's rally. "We want to raise the profile. We want a different image, a different thought, a different phrase out there other than what the DA and the police chief are saying to let people know that this is an issue, and it needs to be addressed right now and not later."

ABC11 reached out to Raleigh Police about the groups concerns. A spokesperson said the agency has no comment.

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