READ: NAACP Statement on Denzel Curnell shooting - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

READ: NAACP Statement on Denzel Curnell shooting

Denzel Curnell (Photo Source: Facebook) Denzel Curnell (Photo Source: Facebook)

The following is the statement read at the NAACP press conference Thursday morning on the fatal shooting of Denzel Curnell on Friday night.

"We come today as members of the Charleston Branch NAACP and as concerned citizens in the wake of another law enforcement officer-involved shooting. We stand across the street from the Charleston Police Department, the agency charged with protecting the lives of and equitably enforcing the law in the City of Charleston. We chose this place because of the many questions surrounding the shooting death of Denzel Curnell.

More than five days have now passed since Mr. Curnell's shooting, and answers from the Charleston Police Department as to the involvement of one of their officers have been vague and incomplete.

Why was a young man with a clean legal record and a bright future in the military stopped by a police officer for simply being on the street? Why did his encounter with that officer end in what's alleged to be his suicide -- and why would a left-handed young man in a stressful situation shoot himself in the right side of the head? Why would an officer trying to stop a suicide be seen by witnesses with his weapon in his hand?

Why did the agency with the officer involved process the crime scene before SLED's arrival? Why was the involved officer given time off and an opportunity to gather himself before speaking with investigators -- a procedure usually followed when law enforcement officers fire their weapons and injure or kill their targets?

Those questions are yet to be answered and, in this case, silence is not golden but is confusing and infuriating.

What we do know is that Denzel Curnell joins the sad and horrifying list of young black men shot by or in the presence of law enforcement in our community. Answers have been hard to come by in all of those cases, and even when those answers showed clear police culpability and misconduct, not one law enforcement officer has been indicted for shooting a black suspect.

We mourn the loss of Denzel Curnell and we will stand by his family while the investigation into his death unfolds. We will monitor that investigation to assure that justice is done and, if necessary, that the United States Department of Justice be made aware of the case for further investigation and review.

Many questions abound in the shooting and death of Denzel Curnell, but one thing is certain - the Charleston Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies must end the practice of racial profiling, which sometimes creates problems where there are no problems and sometimes causes routine situations to escalate into matters of life and death.

The City of Charleston prides itself on being a welcoming and courteous place. If that welcoming courtesy is not extended to all citizens and visitors -- including young African-American males -- then the City is dealing in inequitable hypocrisy and needs to change course -- lives very literally depend on that."

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