Attorneys for the family of Akiel Denkins, the young man killed Feb. 29 by shots from a Raleigh police officer in south Raleigh, say an independent autopsy shows a wound to the back of his right shoulder. It is the latest additional information in the mix of multiple accounts surrounding the shooting. Raleigh police reported after talking with the officer that Denkins suffered gunshot wounds that came after the officer saw him pull a gun from the front waistband of his pants. A struggle ensued, police said.
Some witnesses have said Denkins was shot running away.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has rightly urged the state medical examiner’s office to speed the release of information from the final autopsy on Denkins. Her actions are appropriate and responsive to the family’s concerns.
The issue has obvious importance, given several incidents around the United States involving deadly encounters between police and some in African-American communities. Tensions are always high in such situations, and the best way to lessen them is with timely action from the officials in charge.
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Freeman is signaling that she is not going to tolerate delay and that she intends to be candid with the public in this matter. Both Denkins’ family and the public at large need a full and conclusive report.