Man killed by Raleigh police was shot multiple times on the ground, activists say

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Raleigh police officers and firefighters work the scene of a crash on Interstate 440 between New Bern Avenue and Brentwood Road that “concerns an officer-involved shooting,” the Raleigh Police Department said Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. (Travis Long/tlong@newsobserver.com)

A week after Raleigh police fatally shot a man following a crash on Interstate 440, activists demanded action from the department and released new details they say they’ve uncovered about the shooting.

Community advocates from Emancipate NC said 43-year-old Daniel Turcios, a native of El Salvador, was severely disoriented by the crash after being rendered unconscious, and had limited understanding of English.

At a news conference Tuesday, they pushed back on the idea that Turcios may have been intoxicated at the time of the crash, as Police Chief Estella Patterson said last week that 911 callers had indicated.

“(He) woke up extremely confused and disoriented,” said Kerwin Pittman of Emancipate NC. “So confused and disoriented that he didn’t even respond to his wife when she spoke to him.”

Pittman said eyewitness testimony from the scene supported their suspicion that he was shot multiple times, even after he had fallen to the ground. Dawn Blagrove, executive director of Emancipate NC, said a medical report provided to the family “clearly indicates that (Turcios) was shot multiple times.”

While Blagrove acknowledged that Turcios “had a very small pocket knife,” she emphasized that did not justify police shooting him.

“Let us be clear that (the knife) is being used to manipulate the tragic outcome,” she said. “Whether (Turcios) had a thumb pin or a kitchen knife ... he was not wielding (it) crazily trying to attack anyone.”

“He was walking, tased, falls to the ground ... and is murdered in front of his family,” she added. “That is the story here. That is what matters.”

The family of Turcios, Respuesta Rápida de Durham and the Raleigh Police Accountability Task Force also attended the news conference, which came in anticipation of a new report detailing the Raleigh Police Department’s initial findings on the shooting.

The police department previously said it would send those findings to the city manager “within five business days.”

The News & Observer has requested a copy of the report.

Blagrove said Emancipate NC did not know what the report would contain.

If history tells us anything, it is going to tell us that the police are not capable of policing themselves,” she said. “And we need independent, objective individuals to investigate police-involved shootings and any allegations of police misconduct, for that matter.”

Emancipate NC called for a criminal investigation at the Tuesday news conference.

“It is our intention to help this family get accountability and get closure,” Blagrove said. “If this was a preventable death, then we want someone to be held accountable.”

Raleigh police have not released details about the crash that led to the shooting.

Patterson said when officers arrived, they found Turcios carrying a knife that he refused to drop.

As he walked away, an officer used a Taser “to try to defuse the situation,” and officers moved to try to subdue him.

A video recorded by a witness showed Turcios shot moments later, as he attempted to get up.

Patterson said police shot Turcios after he “swung a knife at officers.”

Turcios, who immigrated from Olomega, a small town in El Salvador, has lived in the United States about 20 years, family friends said.

“They killed him in front of me and my children. He didn’t do anything to them,” said Rosa Jerez, his wife, speaking in Spanish at the Tuesday news conference. “I told them leave him alone. He’s not doing anything to you. They didn’t listen.”

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