NC Fathers

Derek Walker – Durham NC Father Shot By Police After Custody Dispute

Derek Walker of Durham NCDerek Deandre Walker was a 26 yr old Father who was shot by Durham NC police after the young man became distraught one day after a lengthy custody battle in which he lost, then was confronted by police in downtown Durham where he was found with a firearm. As reported by many on the scene, Derek Walker was reported to yell at at police “shoot me, shoot me” right before pointing the gun at officers, at which point he was shot dead. In looking at Derek Walker’s Facebook page, one can clearly see where he was being inundated with significant amounts of emotion and pain at the prospect of becoming a marginalized and lost court ordered non-custodial parent as it was revealed that his last Facebook post stated “Don’t call me and don’t talk to me because I’m not responding. I hope I die very soon and a fast death because this world I live in is sorry.” and “I can’t take [what] my son’s mother is putting me through,” Walker wrote. “She has filled [my son's] head up with so much false stuff. He has told me I’m a bad father, I’m not a good dad.”, and finally “I’m ready to die because I have no reason to live right now.”

Derek Walker shot dead after custody disputeIn this article we are going to explore what could easily have prevented this tragedy, as well as explore many of the problems with the Durham County NC Family Courts that likely led to the anguish of this young Father. We will say that neither the Durham NC police or courts are responsible for Derek’s death because it is clear that he chose a bad path in dealing with his pain that we do not recommend, but while the Judge’s in the Durham NC courts are not responsible, they VERY easily could have resolved this custody dispute that was amicable for both parents and children that likely would have led to Derek Walker walking out of court a very happy Father.

Why couldn’t the Durham County NC Family Court Judges just allowed Derek Walker to be a equal parent instead of a marginalized visitor to his children?

This is the central question we ask daily and a sentence that is paramount to this organization existing.

What is ironic in this clear case of police assisted suicide are three things. One, is that our courts and politicians love to throw deadbeat and disinterested Fathers up to the dogs when it can be used at election time, but then when they encounter a Father that is neither deadbeat or disinterested, they routinely court order exactly that. Second, the statistics love to paint an inaccurate portrayal of young African-American Fathers who are thugs, deadbeats, drug dealers, and pimps, yet we have an example tonight of a Father that was neither. Third, one of the reasons the court give us for not allowing Fathers like Derek Walker to be equal parents, is that it causes conflict. I’m guessing the scene of the shooting of Derek puts that argument to rest.

This Man just wanted to be a Father on his own terms, yet once again we have another example of the strangers in black robes continuing to follow antiquated laws and procedures that are causing non-custodial families and children considerable amounts of conflict and anguish. Yet again, we have legislators in NC who refuse to consider equally shared parenting and possibly creating a climate where neither parent is pushed out of their child’s life by the courts, and now we have another parent dead in NC. The Durham County NC courts could have easily empowered both parents in this matter, yet they continue to bury their heads in the sand and continue a century old bias which demands that one parent win while another parent loses in our courts which then sets off two decades of fighting and is directly related to making our children sick. And unfortunately, for Mr. Walker, it has led to a senseless tragedy that could have been avoided is the heavy handed courts gave a crap about families and children. And yes, we say families because this is very much a family issue. I can guarantee you tonight that many people in Derek Walker’s family are hurting. We can guarantee you when Derek’s child grows up to learn about his Father, he/she will likely ask: Why couldn’t my Dad just have been allowed to be a Father and will likely be looking at the other parent who fought hard to be the “winning parent” in the custody battle for those answers.

Again, Why couldn’t the Durham County NC Family Court Judges just allowed Derek Walker to be a equal parent instead of a marginalized visitor to his children? Surely the Judges in this matter prefer that over the death of this parent? Surely the Durham NC police would have preferred that over confronting a emotionally distraught parent in the street with a wish to die right? Surely the other parent in this matter would have preferred to have a equally participative Father in the picture rather than a payment provider correct?

Nope, not in NC. In our State we love to take parents who want to be equal parents and push them to the farthest margins of their kid’s lives via the courts and in favor of furthering an industry that benefits from one side of a family being alienated from their children.

The Durham NC Industry That Flourished As Derek Walker Was Being Shot By Police

Unfortunately, Derek Walker probably did not realize that his fate was sealed long before the custody battle papers were even filed. In North Carolina, we need very marginalized parents paying increasing amounts of child support so that social services programs can keep up with the increasing amounts of goodies custodial parents gobble up in the way of welfare, food stamps, educational benefits, job assistance, daycare assistance, Medicaid, and other programs that get payed for via the Title IV-D system which gives back States money on each dollar they collect in child support. Had Derek been allowed to be an equal Father he likely would have payed little (if any) child support which would have mean a decrease in federal money coming back to the State of NC. Apparently, the State of NC, legislators, and Judges sees this as more important that parents.

Sometime before Derek Walker was shot by Durham NC police, two lawyers made very good money in the dispute leading up to the custody battle which triggered this event, and there was an incentive for Derek and his ex-wife to have fought for 18 years rather than the courts working to end the dispute via equal parenting.

Child support workers in the State of NC represents about 5,000 jobs, and it is their job to normalize the concept that the ONLY good way a non-custodial parent can support their children is via paying the federal government money. Our belief is that the normal way for a non-custodial parent to support their children is via direct financial, emotional, physical, and psychological support and love for their children, and that children having two equal parents goes much further in their success rather than cutting the head off one side of the family. The industry of child support can not thrive unless an entire side of children’s families is marginalized to the role of visitors rather than loving and active parents and grandparents.

Social services is another industry in Durham NC who benefits when one parents loses in the family court because they know the soon to come Title IV-D money will ensure their employment and programs they deliver. If Derek Walker’s child support obligation was about $500, he would have been a tool that helped trigger $500 in federal money that comes back to Durham County DSS and helps to keep food stamps and Medicaid running smoothly.

Without non-custodial Fathers like Derek Walker, an entire industry of lobby groups who work for the groups that benefit from biased family law would have no work.

Derek Walker shot by Durham NC police

Activism Needed To Support Derek Walker, His Family, And Other Durham NC Non-custodial Families

Durham NC police shooting

  • Immediately email Representative Larry Hall ( Larry.Hall@ncleg.net ) and Senator Mike Woodard ( Mike.Woodard@ncleg.net ) of Durham NC and ask them to find out why Derek Walker was denied the opportunity to be an equal parent. In your email to them, include the URL of this article.
  • Extensively share this article on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social networks.
  • Using the comment section below, leave your most insightful comments on the Family Law system so that others in Durham NC can learn more. This is also a great place to leave expressions of condolences to Derek Walker’s family.
  • Email the link to this article to the Herald-Sun asking them to follow up with this on this article and to start asking Judges and Legislators why this system is allowed to continue. They can be reached by emailing bashley@heraldsun.com
  • Join our Mailing list and Facebook page as a Durham County NC non-custodial family and help us build a massive organization of non-custodial family voices in the NC legislature.

The Derek Walker shooting should be a wake-up call to Durham NC non-custodial families from every racial and cultural background, economic status, education, and political party affiliation that the divisive family courts are creating havoc on families and children and that it is time to end the nature of the courts that NEEDS parents fighting in order for one parent to lose, and causes incredible amounts of pain for the parent and family that has to lose.

The tragic shooting could have easily been avoided simply through the empowerment of both parents.

If you are a Durham County NC non-custodial family member reading this article it is vital that you join our organization and encourage the tens of thousands of other families in the county to join our organizations because the simple truth is if this can happen to Derek, it can happen to your family as well.

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September 18, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

36 Comments »

  1. This will be one of the first things I do today.

    Comment by screwed dad | September 19, 2013 | Reply

  2. Losing my daughter to her father has about drove me insane more than once. I grieve EVERYDAY. In more ways than one, this guy DID NOT DESERVE THIS!!! I hope his EX forever feels guilty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by tami | September 19, 2013 | Reply

  3. Courts ending disputes???????Are you kidding me????? They LOVE the job security!!!!!!!!

    Comment by tami | September 19, 2013 | Reply

  4. Rest in Peace Derek and indeed this should be a wake up call to Durham NC non-custodial families who get devastated in this family court and custody process. Your question “Why couldn’t the Judges just have allowed him to be an equal parent” is so right on. It seems both Democrats and Republicans love to malign absent parents then along comes cases like this and one has to wonder if these politicians don’t enjoy having parents seen as inactive that are really wanting to be active but prevented so by the courts.

    Clearly, I think the Durham County court Judges have blood on their hands.

    Comment by Matt | September 19, 2013 | Reply

  5. WHY COULDN’T THEY LET THIS MAN BE THE FATHER HE WANTED TO BE, THEN HE WOULD PROBABLY BE ALIVE TODAY, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE PROBABLY PUT IT AS ANOTHER STATISTIC, WHEN THE POLICE, COURTS, LAWYERS ETC. NEED PROPER TRAINING. THEY’RE ALWAYS IN A HURRY FOR THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR, WELL NOT FROM THIS POOR MAN, MAY HE REST IN THE ARMS OF GOD. PEOPLE AREN’T PAPERWORK, THEY’RE HUMAN BEINGS, THAT EXPERIENCE PAIN AND SUFFERING, BUT THE JUDGES, LAWYERS, SOCIAL SERVICES, POLICE, HAVE THEIR OWN TYPE OF PEOPLE, THAT REALLY DON’T KNOW THE PAIN THEY IMPOSE ON OTHERS.

    Comment by naomi chavez | September 19, 2013 | Reply

  6. This case is another senseless tragedy. Family Court destroys and decimates families!

    Ironically, our corrupt government claims that the establishment and mission statement of Family Court is to create a “forum that resolves family related issues in a manner that respects the rights of each individual family member, promotes the best interest of the family and helps families structure their own solutions.”

    http://www.nccourts.org/Citizens/CPrograms/Family/

    Family Court does NOT resolve family related issues.
    Family Court does NOT respect the rights of each individual family member, especially fathers and children.
    Family Court does NOT promote the best interest of the family.
    Family Court does NOT help families structure their own solutions.

    “As a result, family courts are able to offer families more timely, consistent and thoughtful outcomes to their legal issues.”

    Much like Nazi occupied Europe, The only thing that Family Court offers is THE FINAL SOLUTION.

    Comment by Navin R. Johnson | September 19, 2013 | Reply

  7. It’s never going to change if we give up and take our own lives. It’s obvious, they do not care about us or our children. A different strategy to draw attention needs to be taken.

    Comment by sam sneed | September 19, 2013 | Reply

    • Nothing changes…….NOTHING CHANGES ! We live in a time of greed & power type society and it’s a club and if your not a member then good luck getting a fair and honest result the day it’s your turn in court. I was completely blindsided with the court system and thought ” hey just tell the truth and all will work out .” I ended up with my son stolen from me via a corrupt family court system from the bottom to the top. It’s a out of body experience.

      Comment by Richard Mirabito | September 19, 2013 | Reply

  8. “I am very family-oriented,” she said. “I wanted my son to know his dad.”
    Latasha Alston, the boy’s mother, also isn’t sure what led Walker to Tuesday’s events, saying she was shocked at the Facebook message because she had no plans to file for full custody.
    “I don’t know what drove him to this point,” Alston said. “There was never a custody battle over my son. I told Derek I wanted joint custody, so why he would say that, I don’t know.”

    Court records, however, show that Alston filed for primary or full custody on Sept. 9.

    http://www.wral.com/man-killed-in-durham-police-standoff-snapped-close-friend-says/12899940/

    She said she wanted her son to know his father, and said that every time the son spent time with Walker “he came home smiling.” She wanted the station to know that in her view, there was no animosity between the two. “No, we were cool,” she said. “That’s why I am shocked. We were fine.”

    Court documents show the two had been in a custody battle for years.

    http://www.wfla.com/story/23468633/mother-of-slain-durham-mans-son-shocked

    The picture painted by Latasha Alston, Walker’s girlfriend, in court filings in their custody dispute showed Walker as tempestuous. In 2008, she filed for a domestic violence protection order, saying Walker tried to push his way past her father and brother at their home to get to her.

    But photographs that Walker posted on his Facebook page painted a different picture of his relationship with his son. The pictures show them at various places in Durham, including Duke Gardens and downtown, laughing and smiling together.

    http://www.heraldsun.com/news/localnews/x249844563/Vigil-for-man-shot-dead-by-police-brings-tears-questions

    Comment by Navin R. Johnson | September 20, 2013 | Reply

  9. Tragically, he’s not the first and he won’t be the last. His death, like so many others, should be a wake-up call to family courts and state legislatures. The message is this: fatherhood is a vital part of men’s being. Take it away and you strike a blow at that being, and sometimes the blow is fatal.

    About 75% of all suicides in the United States are men. The loss of a child in a custody case actually increases the likelihood of a father’s suicide. Fathers suffer terribly when they go, by court order, from everyday caregiver, support, protector, teacher and confidant of their children, to occasional visitor. For every one of them it damages their self-esteem and sense of purpose. For many it destroys their reason for being.

    Mothers experience the same thing. Just a few days ago I posted a piece about a mother who apparently murdered her two children in California and then attempted suicide. Why? She’d lost custody of them. My piece was more about why she’d lost custody, but the fact remains that she, like Derek Walker, lost her reason to live when the judge signed the order.

    Of course, in about 84% of cases, it’s the father who’s the non-custodial parent, so dads are more likely to suffer the deep emotional/psychological injuries that family courts inflict.

    But whoever is on the receiving end of a court order that renders him/her a mere visitor in the lives of their children, it doesn’t have to be this way. For some reason, courts and legislatures are married to the notion that, post-divorce, children miraculously cease needing both parents. Prior to divorce, we all understand that children do better with two parents. Some 50 years of social science on the matter make that all too clear.

    So how is it that, when Mom and Dad divorce or separate, courts conclude that what was necessary before is now not only not necessary, but not possible? Ask yourself what you would think of a father in a married relationship who contrived to take as little part in his child’s life as do divorced fathers with visitation orders. That is, what would you think of a married father who somehow managed to only have any contact with his kid four days a month?

    My guess is you’d think he was a jerk; you might even call him a child abuser. Certainly you’d call his behavior child neglect. So if it’s child neglect during marriage, why isn’t it child neglect after? The answer is, “it is.” And that’s what courts order every day, many times a day – child neglect by the non-custodial parent.

    Make sense?

    It didn’t to Derek Walker. And it shouldn’t to us. Children need both parents, while they’re married and afterward. Courts and legislatures need to bring themselves up to date with the social science on child well-being. Failing that, they can take a long hard look at the words of Derek Walker, a man from whom business as usual in family court took his reason to go on living.

    https://www.nationalparentsorganization.org/recent-articles?id=21287

    Comment by Navin R. Johnson | September 21, 2013 | Reply

  10. First I would like to thank the founder and creator of NC FATHERS. Education about the NC family courts and all they encompass with the social service system is greatly needed. I support your efforts 100%. I too am a Derek Walker. I suffer and wear the mask everyday when I think about how my children were taken from my care and shared custody. I have been in and out of court for over five years dealing with custody issues, domestic violence, and child support all stemming from lies and false accusations by my children’s mother in order that she might maintain primary custodial rights and all social service benefits and sympathy. On her own she would not have been able to be so creative and resourceful to carry our these battles without the Durham County NC Legal Aid Society.
    My point here is that apart from the judges, social services lawyers, and legislators…..there are also women lawyers with the NC Legal Aid Society who encourage the problem of destroying families and encourage vengeful women to file primary custody complaints and domestic violence complaints seeking children instead of equal parentage. Some of these lawyers routinely lie and coach the women on what to say and do to win these cases without any regards for the children’s “best interest.” They use form documents with prefab statements that have proven successful in custody and 50b cases.

    Comment by Morocco Abdul-Haqq | September 22, 2013 | Reply

  11. Is it not common for all Mothers to claim abuse and say that the Father is a horrible person when there is a child custody battle so that she can align herself as a victim and benefit from the large numbers of agencies that will come to her aid and help her win a custody battle?

    Comment by Gerald | September 22, 2013 | Reply

  12. I knew Derek personally and can attest to the fact that he was a very devoted and loving Father. I am sorry for his child and his family that the NC courts put him in this position.

    Comment by Timothy (Durham NC) | September 22, 2013 | Reply

  13. I think that it is sick this Man was reaching out for Domestic Violence help and the police would not offer him any assistance. This just goes to show that Domestic Violence is ONLY geared towards helping Women and it is socially accepted to kill, hit, and abuse Men. Even the federal government points out that 1 in 7 Men experience Domestic Violence.

    Comment by Karen | September 22, 2013 | Reply

  14. Derek had two strikes against him before this incident even happened. First, that he is African-American and second that he is a Father. The black community just refuses to understand that us Fathers are maligned by Women in our own race when it comes to children.

    Comment by Darnel | September 22, 2013 | Reply

  15. I would be interested to know if Latasha Alston was getting county DSS services or not. If she was/is, then it very much explains why allegedly she needed this Father to be a bad person so that she had an easier time getting assistance.

    Our social services system is built around a bad father/good mother paradigm.

    Comment by Kenneth | September 22, 2013 | Reply

  16. I hope all Fathers in the Durham Police Department will now see that they are just once bullet away or one court action away from being made absent in their kids lives.

    Comment by Jacob | September 22, 2013 | Reply

  17. I have read most news reports about this incident and I see a lot of outrage from the black community about how the Durham Police Department could have used less lethal force. And it is good that these questions are being raised. However, I see nobody in our community asking why he was not allowed to be a Father and this is just as equal of an outrage.

    Us Black Fathers are constantly being told we are never good and now we have this case to prove otherwise.

    I am disappointed in our black clergy for not raising these points.

    Comment by Shai | September 22, 2013 | Reply

  18. Why does it take the death/suicide of a Father to get this matter raised to the forefront? Fathers have been getting their tails kicked in the Durham Courts for decades. Why are we not angry about this 365 days a year instead of just when someone dies at the courts hands?

    Comment by Jamal | September 22, 2013 | Reply

  19. Since NC Fathers keeps deleting my comments this is the last one I’m going to make. If you want to make an impact, then email a link to this site to the chief of police.

    NC DURHAM POLICE DEPT:

    jose.lopez@durhamnc.gov

    Comment by Screwed father | September 22, 2013 | Reply

    • Father,
      We keep deleting your comments because you are notorious for making comments that are threats and slanderous.

      Comment by stompkinsnc | September 22, 2013 | Reply

  20. I understand this completely. What about people like me. Who beg and plead with the father to be a father to his daughter. Who never has time. Claiming he cant help. Who missed important moments in her life. Me having to seek family help or the help of the church yo help me provide and be a good parent to my child. Me having to miss work to take her to the doctor, because he refuses to do it. I want him to be apart of her life. But he never has time and could careless about his own child.

    Comment by traci cumberlander | September 22, 2013 | Reply

    • Traci,
      I would say you had a child with someone who isn’t able to support a child, who wasn’t prepared to have a child, or who is apathetic to being a parent and didn’t have access to abortion, adoption, or safe haven placement.

      It’s real easy to point to the numbers of absent and “bad” Fathers who create children and then don’t support them while forgetting that Women have three “outs”.

      Thankfully, there are parents like you and Derek who do want to do the right thing. Now if we can just create a system to allows for all parents who do want to be parents to do just that without court interference.

      Comment by stompkinsnc | September 22, 2013 | Reply

  21. This judge in Durham is the problem. Derek was a great dad so she ruled against him. She gave my stepdaughters biological father more custody. I have a PhD and my wife has an MBA. He can’t hold a job for more than a week and is homeless, so she rules in his favor. She gets off on ruining good parents. She is the problem in my opinion.

    Comment by guyindurham | September 22, 2013 | Reply

    • Who was the Judge that heard Derek’s matter?

      Comment by stompkinsnc | September 23, 2013 | Reply

  22. I am completely sorry about this whole matter. What a way to see a life….gone.

    Comment by Valarie Denise LTLMEDIAPR Denver | September 23, 2013 | Reply

  23. Memorial Fund established to assist the son of Derek Walker…

    http://www.wncn.com/story/23505273/mourners-pack-funeral-of-durham-man-killed-by-police

    Comment by Navin R. Johnson | September 23, 2013 | Reply

  24. Wouldn’t be shocked if the Judge was of a different race.

    Comment by Patrick Medley | September 24, 2013 | Reply

    • I wouldnt either but Its NOT a racial thing, its a GENDER thing. NC legislators and judges are EQUAL OPPORTUNITY OFFENDERS. The law states that each parent has an ‘equal chance’ of custody, yet approximately 85% of the time its fathers who get the shaft of the gavel.

      NC has established a system where innocent children always lose, while unscrupulous lawyers and the state are the ones who always win. We need Shared Parenting now!!!

      Comment by Navin R. Johnson | September 24, 2013 | Reply

  25. The state of NC CPS is a hot mess they destroy families 4 yrs ago they took my sister’s children the 2 younger were adopted out & their way of giving her the eldest one was to put him in my custody and allow her to live in the home well she eventually jumped ship I made myself available to the system long before they came I simply asked for help with daycare

    Comment by ronee | September 24, 2013 | Reply

  26. Some people will blame certain things for Derek’s death. But most people this week preferred to celebrate his life.

    http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/the-brief-life-of-derek-walker/Content?oid=3727220

    Comment by Navin R. Johnson | September 26, 2013 | Reply

  27. There are an estimated thousand on thousands of cases such as the one concerning the late Mr. Walker. During his Facebook posting I sort of wonder what was going on. We are not trained to enter the minds of individuals and if we did someone would say, mind your own business. Here we have a case in Georgia where a man wife killed his two children, I am sure many of you have heard about it. I now know that it is not easy at all going through something such as this. I would just say to man or woman no matter who we are tell someone or talk with someone before something like this happen again. It is not short, it will happen again all because we fail to really know the foundation of a person feelings and problem they face; especially in a case such as this!

    Comment by Deacon Robert W. Henry | September 28, 2013 | Reply

  28. In North Carolina, 39 percent of children live in homes with just one biological parent. That means tens of thousands of families look a lot like Walker, Latasha Alston, and their son’s family…

    Derek Walker didn’t have to die

    http://www.thedurhamnews.com/2013/10/11/3267312/kifu-faruq-derek-walker-didnt.html

    Comment by Navin R. Johnson | October 13, 2013 | Reply

  29. Suicide is an extreme action. Maybe it was in the best interest of the child that he not be with a suicidal individual. I understand the situation was not idyllic and he couldn’t see his child, but in time the child will know the truth.

    My mother did the same thing, but my dad stuck through it and even lost in the courts but he persisted, did all he could in the background and saw me when he could. I’m glad my dad didn’t commit suicide it gave me a chance to know him.

    I feel terrible for Derek Deandre and the horrible stress the courts put him through, but just the fact that he committed suicide tells me the child was put in the better household.

    Comment by Miguel Collins | October 16, 2013 | Reply

    • Miguel, homicide is when one person kills another – suicide is when one kills themselves. This man did not have to die – two parties pulled the trigger. The officer that fired the shot and the court. I take it that you have no idea the stress, intimidation, humiliation and financial and emotional stress that comes from these types of proceedings.

      you think his child is in a better home? You need to check your facts – 80% of domestic violence complaints are false, lawyers use them to gain advantage, 85% of the time in NC fathers are the non-custodial parent their ability to raise their child is removed and replaced with visits. The allegations that an ex-spouse can make are wide and varied and require NO evidence or substantiation. The system is incited to create situations like this one. That fact that you cannot see the victim as not only Derek and his family as the victim shows the bias involved with the public domain regarding these types of incidents.

      We need to ask why this man died and how to stop it in the future. No, you are absolutely right the best household for the child was to have equal access to BOTH parents. Until people like you understand that stories like this will continue to litter our very programmed media streams.

      Comment by Paul | October 16, 2013 | Reply

    • Its replies like this that disgust me. That does not make him a bad father

      Comment by screwed dad | October 16, 2013 | Reply


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