Raleigh announces community series about city’s challenges

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh’s mayor announced details Tuesday of a series of meetings to continue building relationships between city leaders, law enforcement and community members.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane’s announcement comes 10 months after the fatal officer-involved shooting of Akiel Denkins.

Officer D.C. Twiddy shot and killed an armed Denkins in a struggle over the officer’s gun Feb. 29 on Bragg Street, officials said. Denkins, who had previous criminal convictions, was wanted for failure to appear on felony drug charges at the time of the shooting.

McFarlane called the meetings a safe place for open and honest conversations.

“Through these conversations we hope to bring to light many of the challenges facing our community. This includes the community relationship with the Raleigh Police Department and other city departments,” McFarlane said.

A community activist Akiba h. Byrd with North Carolina Fair Share CDC said it’s time to bring policing to the forefront.

“But what I have seen is a community coming together behind these tragic events but also getting behind just the understanding that there is a bigger problem out here and we are going to have to address it. It’s not something that we can put off any further,” Byrd said.

Two city-wide meetings will be held November 14 and 16.

Five smaller gatherings will follow with one occurring in each city council district.

The topics will include race relations, education, and affordable housing.

“These are important discussions that will enlist the help of all who participate to begin to identify meaningful and achievable solutions to challenges facing our community,” McFarlane said.

Paul Engram, owner of Paul’s Barbershop, has been very active with policing issues.

In October, the barbershop hosted an event with community members and Raleigh police to talk about various issues.

Engram said police need to do a better job of knowing certain areas.

“But if you at least get to know your local businesses or you small businesses in your area, you will get to know the community because the community is normally behind the small businesses and they know the people in the area,” Engram said.

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