Residents are demanding answers following the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer on Monday. Raleigh police officer D.C. Twiddy was revealed by local authorities on Tuesday as the officer who shot and killed the victim, NBC News reports. Though the victim has not officially been identified by authorities, Rolanda Byrd says witnesses told her that her son, Akiel Denkins, was fatally shot by Twiddy during what appeared to be a foot chase.
Twiddy, a six-year member of city's police force, was placed on administrative duty on Tuesday pending an investigation. Local residents, however, are calling for immediate (and deserved) answers. "Nobody from the police department has told me that it was actually my son that was killed," Byrd told NBC on Tuesday. "I'm hoping it's not. I'm praying it's not." Though local authorities say they found a gun "in close proximity" to the victim, Byrd and other residents are not convinced. "Nobody saw him with a gun," Byrd revealed, adding that her son—who had a warrant out for his arrest stemming from his failure to appear in court on a drug charge—didn't own a firearm.
Denkins, a 24-year-old father of two, has been described by those close to him as a "good-hearted" man simply trying to make his own way in the world. "A warrant or an arrest record is not a license to kill," Rev. William Barber, NAACP board member, told reporters during a press conference. Barber, alongside many others, are now calling for Byrd to receive "closure" by being able to physically identify her son's body.
The fatal shooting comes at a time when national scrutiny on the behavior of police officers is at a high, though that same behavior would appear to be sadly as prevalent as ever. As revealed in January by the Washington Post, police officers in America shot and killed close to 1,000 people in 2015 alone. National police reform, including efforts aimed at demilitarization and retraining, have also gripped the 2016 election season. Just last week, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made a public plea for the adoption of a national database of police killings.