In breaking news in Charleston, S.C. yesterday afternoon, Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson released a statement saying there was overwhelming and conclusive evidence that a former Army recruit had committed suicide the night of June 20.
Denzel “Jaba” Curnell, 19, died of a single gunshot wound to the head at the Bridgeview Apartment complex on North Romney Street in Charleston following a brief altercation with an off-duty Charleston police officer. The officer, Jamal Medlin, was working that night as a security officer for the complex.
Onlookers immediately claimed the police had shot and killed the young, black, male, from a distance. However, as the investigation intensified and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) brought detectives to the scene, there was an overwhelming lack of cooperation from the Black community.
As the investigators worked to gain information, in spite of community roadblocks, Dot Scott, President of the local NAACP, said there was a "wall of silence" by the Charleston Police Department. Scott demanded footage from the apartment complex surveillance cameras and also asked that the coroner’s report be made public immediately. The family hired an attorney.
Solicitor Wilson’s final word yesterday said there were no signs of gunshot residue on Officer Medlin and the only DNA on the weapon belonged to the short-time Soldier, Denzel Curnell. The weapon used belonged to Curnell’s family. The contact wound was consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The local Black community is not satisfied that justice in this case prevailed due to three eye-witness reports and the fact that Curnell was left-handed but was shot on the right-side of his head.
The Black community has now turned the focus on why Officer Medlin (who himself is Black) profiled Curnell the night of the incident. Officer Jamal Medlin maintains Curnell was wearing a black hoodie on an 85 degree night and was standing in the dark between buildings at the former housing project apartment complex. His job was to make sure Curnell belonged in the "historically violent neighborhood."
Officer Medlin’s weapon was never fired. He has been cleared of any wrong-doing in the incident.
Advocates for the Black community including the ACLU and the NAACP are now heavily involved in a racial controversy that is clearly not over in Charleston.