Police reform advocates are demanding a criminal investigation into the killing of Daniel Turcios, a Raleigh man shot in front of his family by police following a highway crash last week.
Turcios was driving with his wife and two children on the afternoon of January 11 when he lost control of the vehicle, which flipped several times, knocking Turcios unconscious, Kerwin Pittman, an advocate with Emancipate NC, shared with members of the media at a press conference Tuesday. A witness pulled Turcios from the vehicle and he regained consciousness. Turcios did not speak English and woke up confused and disoriented. Police arrived and shot Turcios multiple times as his wife and children watched in horror, Pittman said.
“I told them ‘Leave him alone, he’s not doing anything to you,'” Turcios’s tearful widow, Rosa Jerez, told reporters.
“My husband was not understanding anything. My children were yelling [at police] and asking them to not kill him,” she said. “He was killed like a dog.”
The account was strikingly different than reports first provided by police, which claimed Turcios was drunk and wielding a knife during the interaction. CBS17 reported a 911 caller told dispatchers Turcios’s vehicle had rammed his car and the driver appeared intoxicated. When police arrived, police said Turcios swung the knife at officers, who fired.
Pittman shared video footage of the incident, showing the moment a Raleigh police officer shot Turcios. A knife is not visible in the few seconds of footage, which shows an officer in the shooting position and Turcios falling to the ground.
Medical reports received by the family show Turcios was shot multiple times, Pittman said.
Pittman and Emancipate NC executive director Dawn Blagrove said the family was not there to discuss details of the case including whether Turcios was intoxicated. The knife, they said, was a small pocket knife.
A CBS17 reporter repeatedly asked advocates about the pocket knife. Blagrove rebuked that characterization of the incident.
“What we’re not going to do is continue to feed that narrative,” Blagrove said. “Law enforcement officers are trained professionals. If I pulled out a pocket knife on any of you right now and you pulled out a gun and shot me, you would go to prison. There would be no question about that.”
“So this knife, while it is being used as the focal point, let us be clear that it’s being used to manipulate the tragic outcome and public persona,” Blagrove added.
Raleigh Police officials, who have not yet responded to the INDY‘s questions regarding the matter, are expected to issue a five-day report Wednesday and Chief Estella Patterson has petitioned the courts to release the body camera footage, as required by North Carolina law.
Patterson, who previously worked in internal affairs for the Charlotte Police Department, was hired to replace Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown in August.
Turcios was the breadwinner for his family. A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for funeral expenses.
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