Activists, family say man was shot 'multiple times' by Raleigh police including while on ground
Police reform advocates say a Raleigh police officer shot Daniel Turcios multiple times, including after he was lying on the ground following a vehicle crash last week. Turcios, a 43-year-old father of three and native of El Salvador, was wielding a knife on the side of Interstate 440 after the incident when police began shooting, Raleigh police report.
Advocates for the family and for police reform in North Carolina held a news conference Tuesday morning to address the shooting.
"Even if the first shot was warranted — which, again, we do not concede by any stretch of the imagination — the significant delay in the first and the subsequent shot, should warrant more than an internal affairs investigation. It should warrant a criminal investigation," said Dawn Blagrove, executive director of Emancipate NC.
Kerwin Pittman, Emancipate NC director of policy and program, added that Turcios was likely disoriented from the car crash that preceded the shooting and spoke only limited English. Pittman says it's likely Turcios did not understand the commands being shouted at him by Raleigh police officers.
"Daniel Turcios woke up extremely confused and disoriented, as a result of being knocked unconscious from this serious car accident," Pittman said. "So confused and disoriented that he didn’t even respond to his wife when she spoke to him."
Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said Turcios wielded a knife that officers demanded he drop. Blagrove said it was a pocket knife and that focusing on the knife distorts the narrative.
"What we don't want to do and what we're not going to do is focus on this pocket knife. … We are not going to continue to feed that narrative," Blagrove said Tuesday morning. "After already sustaining a severe head injury, he is tased, falls to the ground again and then tries to get back up, and is murdered in front of his family. That is the story here. That is what matters."
A report with initial investigation findings is expected on Wednesday. The Raleigh Police Department has not released the names of the officers involved; they are on administrative leave as is customary protocol.
The State Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation; when it completes its work, it will turn over the findings to Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman's office, which will make a determination on what charges — if any — to file against the officers involved.
Blagrove also disputed information distributed by Raleigh police that Turcios was intoxicated. When asked at the Tuesday press conference directly if Turcios had been drinking Blagrove responded with one word: "No." After a short pause, she added, "To the best of our knowledge, and from what we understand. No."
Turcios' wife, Rosa Jerez, also spoke at the press conference. She wore sunglasses and broke down crying several times. She spoke in Spanish and Ivan Almonte, a Durham community organizer, translated.
"They killed him in front of me and my children," Jerez said through Almonte. "He didn't do anything to them. I told them, 'Leave him alone. He didn't do anything to you.' But they didn't listen. My husband was not understanding anything. … He was killed like a dog, they didn't care about him."