The killing of Akiel Denkins on Monday marked the first time a Raleigh police officer had shot someone in the line of duty in more than a year, and the first time an officer has killed someone in more than 7 years.
Raleigh Police Department policy allows officers to use deadly force when someone is behaving in a manner that poses a danger to the officer or others. When a Raleigh officer kills or wounds someone, the chief provides a report explaining the incident to the city manager within five business days.
The last time a Raleigh officer killed someone was in August 2008 when Officer J. Bloodworth shot Renford Butler near Lane and Dawson streets downtown.
Police say Butler had taken a taxi from Durham to Dorothea Dix Hospital, then carjacked the taxi, leading police on a chase that ended when the car hit a van downtown. Police say Butler emerged from the car with a straight razor and yelled at officers that he was not going to jail and that they would have to kill him. Bloodworth fired after another officer tried unsuccessfully to tackle Butler from behind and appeared to get slashed by him.
Butler, 34, was struck twice and died at WakeMed about a week later.
Including that incident, there had been seven officer-involved shootings in the city in the past decade before Monday. The others are:
▪ Dec. 17, 2014: Officer S.C. Nziuki shot and wounded Marcel Jordan at Family Preservation Services of North Carolina, a mental health treatment office on Barrett Drive. Police say Jordan had threatened to kill someone in the office and was holding a pair of scissors when he advanced on officers.
▪ May 29, 2014: Sgt. J.D. Malzahn shot in the direction of a man who pointed a gun at him as he waved it out the door of an apartment in Wakefield. Malzahn’s first shot hit a fire extinguisher, causing it to rupture and spray powder throughout the breezeway. The second shot hit another Raleigh officer, K.J. Barefoot, in the hip.
▪ Nov. 23, 2012: Officers M.M. Harmon and D.B. Moreland shot and wounded murder suspect Matthew Durwood Calton behind a shopping center on Creedmoor Road. Officers say Calton fired a shotgun at the officers, hitting Harmon in the right arm.
▪ Oct. 21, 2010: Officers D.C. Painter and P.D. Matthews shot and wounded Emmeril Latrice Wilcoxson outside a Motel 6 on Maitland Drive. Officers say Wilcoxson was charging at them, screaming threats and holding her hand outstretched, when the officers fired. Wilcoxson was unarmed.
▪ Sept. 30, 2009: Three officers wounded Justin Lamar Thomas after he emerged from a building on Hutton Street, off Blue Ridge Road, after a two-hour standoff. Police say he pointed two handguns at the officers when the officers fired. Thomas was hit once.
▪ April 4, 2008: Officer B. Greenwood wounded Michael Lewis White after he ran from an SUV during a traffic stop off Rush Street. Police say White twice pointed a gun at Greenwood before Greenwood fired, hitting White twice.
The Raleigh Police Department’s policy says an officer will use deadly force only under the following circumstances:
▪ In defense of himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.
▪ To arrest or prevent the escape of a person whom the officer reasonably believes is attempting to escape by the use of a deadly weapon.
▪ To arrest or prevent escape of a person who by his conduct or any other means indicates that he presents an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to others unless apprehended without delay.