Death Certificate: Dominique White Died as a Result of Gunshot Wounds to His Back

Dominique White’s death certificate indicates two Topeka police officers shot him in the back following a Sept. 28 confrontation in East Topeka.

For a family struggling with answers while Lawrence police investigate, the death certificate — which says White died from “gunshot wounds of back” — offers the first new information to be made public since the day he was killed.

Topeka police said at least one of the shots fired at White struck his chest.

“(The death certificate) verified what we were already thinking,” said Kelly White, Dominique’s father, adding he believes his son was running away from Topeka police when he was killed.

Heather Joyce, White’s sister-in-law, said misinformation has compounded the hurt the family is experiencing. His mother, Theresa Wynne, said his death and unanswered questions have been “all-consuming” for her.

The family wants to know what led to the shooting, the names of the officers who fired at White, and access to body camera footage.

“To finish our grieving as a family, we need these answers — whether we like the answers we get or not, we need them,” Joyce said.

Joyce would like to see the investigation wrapped up in the next week. If that happens, Kelly White wants Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay to make a decision on charges by the end of the month.

“I feel like it’s been enough time,” Joyce said. “And then we want it to go to whoever is most capable of performing their job.”

“Without bias,” Wynne added.

A family’s anguish

Wynne doesn’t know where to start when asked about her memories of Dominique.

In an interview at dinner last week in downtown Topeka, her voice trails off and other family members step in, commenting on his charisma and how accepting he was of everyone. Kelly White remembers his son as “a people person” who was a good singer and loved music. Trisha Rivera, White’s older sister, described him as a good dad. White had four boys, ages 13, 10, 5 and 3.

Wynne finds her voice when talking about the situation at hand.

“They’re protected by that badge,” she said of the unidentified officers involved in the shooting.

Wynne said not knowing the identity of who shot Dominique has provoked fear.

“He may be right next to me,” she said of going to public places, such as the grocery store.

Throughout dinner, the family speculates about what did — or didn’t — occur on the day of the shooting, and discuss the community’s response and how police shootings have been dealt with nationally. Most of the eight family members at dinner wear black hoodies with a photo of Dominique. Text on the jackets reads “Say his name, Dominique White.”

There are moments of reprieve: A photo of one of their dogs is passed around. They joke with a waitress. But Dominique’s absence and the cloud of questions surrounding his death are pervasive.

“We want to know why he was suspicious,” Wynne said. “Him and his girlfriend are sitting in a park at 9 o’clock in the morning. What made him suspicious?”

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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