After tense relations with RPD, community advocates respond to officer shooting

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- When southeast Raleigh community advocate Kimberly Muktarian heard what happened on Western Boulevard and Schaub drive Wednesday -- her mind immediately turned to what happened earlier.

Not in the minutes before the shooting but the years before the suspect, 24-year old Cedric Kearney, allegedly fired his gun at Officer Charles Ainsworth after that confrontation over an alleged stolen car.

Related: "Officer Down!": 9-1-1 traffic from night Raleigh officer is shot

"This is a tragedy for both sides of the field because this didn't have to happen," Muktarian said. "We have to start talking about preventions for our young people."

Muktarian's organization, Save Our Sons, would've hoped to save Kearney from the criminal justice system, long before what happened Wednesday night in southwest Raleigh.

Back at WakeMed, fellow lawmen continue to hold vigil for the young Raleigh Police officer - who had only recently taken his oath to protect and serve.

"A lot of people in the community have reached out to us offering their support which is really humbling," said Raleigh Police Protective Association President Rick Armstrong.

While Raleigh and surrounding communities have rallied in support of Officer Ainsworth, it's also a city where the relationship between police and some neighborhoods has often been frayed.

After years of debate, the city is now spending nearly five million dollars to outfit officers with body-worn cameras, and recording equipment for RPD cruisers. After a string of controversial incidents involving officers and African-American civilians - the move was aimed at boosting transparency.

Muktarian believes the cameras changed the dynamic of what happened Wednesday night.

"Yeah absolutely, without the cameras and without the transparency, we could have had a different outcome," she said. "What we ask for is just the truth. We may not like it. But at least we know we have access."

RPD has not confirmed whether or not Officer Ainsworth was wearing a body-camera or the other officers who captured Kearney in a backyard shed.

We also asked if Ainsworth was wearing his department-issued bullet-proof vest -- which may have helped save his life. RPD has yet to respond.
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