Criminal justice activists have accused Raleigh police of fatally shooting a young dad who was “so confused and disoriented that he didn’t even respond to his wife when she spoke to him” following a highway crash in North Carolina.
Daniel Turcios, 43, was shot and killed by officers who responded to a car crash last week involving the beloved husband and father to three boys. Police said they received multiple 911 calls at about 1:30 pm on Jan. 11 about a car wreck indicating that a person was intoxicated.
During a news conference, Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said the El Salvador native was allegedly “armed with a knife” when he was walking away from the scene of the crash alongside a small child.
According to Patterson, who cautioned repeatedly that details about the incident were “preliminary,” Turcios was repeatedly ordered to drop the knife.
When Turcios failed to drop it, officers tased Turcios, causing him to stumble to the ground. As officers were preparing to take him into custody, he allegedly “swung the knife towards officers,” Patterson said. It was then that an officer fired at Turcios.
But during a news conference condemning the officer who killed Turcios, Emancipate NC, a structural group aimed at dismantling racism and mass incarceration in the state, pushed back on those claims.
Executive director Dawn Blagrove said that Turcios was “disoriented” when cops approached him at the crash scene.
“In this case, because Daniel was disoriented from a severe blow to the head resulted in a temporary loss of consciousness that he suffered during the car accident–was that taken into consideration before the officers proceed to engage?”
The group shared footage from the scene that was clipped just a few seconds after similar footage circulated online. Kerwin Pittman, the group’s policy and program director, said it showed the officer who killed Turcios firing additional shots as Turcios lay on the ground.
“In this footage it is undeniably clear that after the initial shot sustained by Daniel Turcios, he was no longer a threat,” Pittman said. “Why [were] additional shots fired?”
In the video, an unidentified person the group said was a witness, can be heard saying the initial shot “was enough.”
“He wasn’t a threat after that,” Pittman said.
According to Blagrove, police were using the presence of the pocket knife, which Turcios had not used to “crazily try to attack anyone,” to “manipulate the tragic outcome” and justify the murder.
A report for Raleigh Police Department told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that a brief written report of the incident” would be sent to the city manager and released publicly on Wednesday.
In witness video from the incident, circulated online and published by the News & Observer, Turcios can be seen stumbling away from the crash scene with the meaningful pocket knife before he was tased. As officers encircled him, he appeared to rouse himself and scuffle with officers before an officer shot him.
“Why was it necessary for Daniel to be physically detained in the first place?” Blagrove said Tuesday, adding that the group hoped to help Turcios’ family seek accountability and closure, especially if the death was preventable.
Turcios immigrated to the US about 20 years ago from a small town in El Salvador, family friends told the News & Observer.
His family, including wife Rosa Jerez, made an appearance at Tuesday’s news conference. Through tears, Jerez detailed the horrific encounter, alleging that officers killed her husband “like a dog.”
“They killed him in front of me and my children,” Jerez said in Spanish. “I told them to leave him alone. He’s not doing anything to you. They didn’t listen.”
Jerez created a GoFundMe page to pay for her husband’s funeral expenses and send his remains to El Salvador.
It remains unclear from the clips how many shots were fired and how much time elapsed in between, but Blagrove insisted the footage “clearly indicates” that Turcios was shot “multiple times”—and that a “significant delay” between the first and second shots should warrant “more than an internal affairs investigation.”
Patterson announced an internal probe last week, noting that its findings would be used to determine whether the officers had violated department policy. She said the probe would run parallel to a State Bureau of Investigation probe.
“I want to say that I want to wait until we have all of the information, before making any decisions or before making statements regarding whether the shooting was justified or was not justified,” Patterson said.
The officer who shot Turcios has not been publicly identified but was put on administrative duty, which isn’t enough, according to Blagrove.
“If history tells us anything, it is going to tell us that the police are not capable of policing themselves,” Blagrove said. “And we need independent, objective individuals to investigate police-involved shootings and any allegations of police misconduct, for that matter.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/raleigh-cops-accused-of-killing-disoriented-dad-daniel-turcios-as-he-stumbled-from-north-carolina-car-wreck?source=articles&via=rss Raleigh Cops Accused of Killing ‘Disoriented’ Dad Daniel Turcios as He Stumbled From North Carolina Car Wreck