Civil rights advocates and the family of a 19-year-old former Army recruit fatally shot during a June 20 encounter with a South Carolina police officer are questioning the claim by law enforcement that his death appears to have been a suicide.
The officer is on paid leave as the South Carolina Law Enforcement
Division investigates the shooting of Denzel Curnell in Charleston, who
died after a gunshot wound in the head.
His death adds to "the sad and horrifying list of young black men shot
by or in the presence of law enforcement in our community," the local
branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
said in a statement.
Police have released few details about the incident. They described the
case as a "possible suicide," saying there was no evidence that the
officer, Jamal Medlin, fired a weapon.
But Curnell's relatives are asking how the teenager, who was
left-handed, could have shot himself in the right side of his head, said
Dot Scott, president of the Charleston NAACP branch.