Politics & Government

Sutton refers to police shooting as ‘murder’

Wake County school board member Keith Sutton is calling the recent fatal shooting of a 24-year-old man by a Raleigh police officer a “murder” and says the school system needs to “hear the cries and anguish that’s going in our community right now.”

Akiel Denkins was killed shortly after noon on Feb. 29 by Raleigh police officer D.C. Twiddy. Police have said Denkins was armed and was shot during a struggle, but Denkins’ family says he was unarmed and shot from behind. Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has asked for the final autopsy results to be expedited.

Sutton addressed the shooting at Tuesday’s board meeting. Sutton said he had attended a Monday meeting at Revelation Church “put together by grassroots leadership in the community that’s meeting on a weekly basis in response to the murder of the young gentleman in Southeast Raleigh a couple of weeks ago.”

“Our community is very concerned,” Sutton also said at the board meeting. “Our community is very frustrated, our community is very angry and upset, our community is hurting.”

This is not the first time that Sutton has spoken out on police shootings.

In December 2014, he wore a “Black Lives Matter” shirt at a school board meeting where he said that the school system can learn from the nationwide protests of the criminal justice system’s handling of police killings of unarmed black men.

Apex, Wake dicker

The Apex Town Council and Wake County Public Schools briefly disagreed this week about who should pay for town-requested changes to a site plan for the new Apex Friendship Middle School.

The requests, addressed in a quasi-judicial hearing, prompted the school system’s lawyer to tell council members that it can’t handle all of the town’s problems.

“Because of the school system’s limited budget, we don’t believe Wake County Public Schools can be the solution for everyone else’s issues,” said Kenneth Haywood, who represented WCPSS. “People would like someone else to take responsibility for those problems, but the school system has limited funding for this particular school.”

The town had asked the school system to pay for $625,000 in nearby road improvements, which officials said would be required because of an increase in school traffic. The town also asked for $100,000 in communications equipment to help emergency responders.

Haywood said the county should look into the problem of weak signal strength before the school system agrees to the expense.

The council eventually agreed to strike the road-related request. And while there was deliberation about continuing the hearing or denying the plan altogether, Haywood stood up and said the school system would withdraw its objections to paying for the radio equipment. The council unanimously approved the plan.

The 235,000-square-foot school on Humie Olive Road is set to open in 2018.

Compiled by T. Keung Hui and Henry Gargan

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