Police in Raleigh Allegedly Shot an Unarmed Man 7 Times in the Back

February 29th 2016

Alex Mierjeski

Police in Raleigh, North Carolina, are investigating an officer-involved shooting that took place on Monday, in which witnesses allege an unarmed Black man was shot in the back seven times and killed while running from a white officer.

Police have yet to identify the victim, but according to reports, he is 24-year-old Akiel Denkins.

A woman identifying herself as the victim's mother, Rolanda Byrd, said "four of five people" told her Denkins had been shot as he was running from police, according to News & Observer.

"It's been over two hours, and my son still behind the building, laying on the ground," Byrd told the paper. She also said that law enforcement at the scene would not let her see the body.

Police have yet to identify the victim, but Byrd told ABC 11 reporter Jon Camp that several witnesses would be able to identify her son, whom they knew from the neighborhood.

Community members gathered near the scene of the shooting Monday afternoon and chanted "Black lives matter," according to reports.

Although police had not confirmed the victim's identity, Raleigh police chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said that the deceased was wanted for felony drug charges. Deck-Brown also said that a firearm was found "in close proximity to the deceased suspect," and that the scene was still being processed. The victim's family is disputing the presence of the gun.

It is unclear what drug charges Denkins was wanted for, but some on social media were already noting that the "felony drug charges" narrative had broad implications in the state.

Chris Jones, the pastor of the Ship of Zion Church nearby, lead the crowd in prayers on Monday afternoon near the scene of the shooting. "No matter what anyone else thinks, they loved him," he said, according to the News & Observer. "Lord, you know what happened out here today."

"Yeah, they killing us," someone in the crowd reportedly said in response.

A Raleigh city council meeting on the use of body cameras by police scheduled for Monday was reportedly delayed because of the shooting, ABC 11 reported.

"We were scheduled to talk about it today because it’s something everyone across the country is talking about….I don’t know if [body cameras] would have made a difference today," Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane told WNCN. "The primary thing is that we don’t want these situations to happen at all in the first place, cameras or not."