The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released body-camera footage from the police shooting of Danquirs Franklin in a Burger King parking lot on March 25. The video is from the viewpoint of officer Wende Kerl, who shot Franklin. It shows Kerl arrive on the scene and confront Franklin, who is squatting next to the open door of a vehicle speaking with the general manager of the restaurant. Kerl and fellow officer Larry Deal yell at Franklin to drop his gun, which can’t be seen on the video when they first confront Franklin. After about 30 seconds, Franklin reaches in his pocket and pulls out the gun, though he doesn’t point it at anyone. When he takes it out of his pocket, Kerl immediately shoots him twice.
Franklin can be heard saying “You told me to,” after he was shot, presumably meaning that he was trying to drop the gun when Kerl fired.
In a statement sent to Queen City Nerve, community organizer Robert Dawkins, founder of the SAFE Coalition, said that he does not believe the shooting was justified and asked why one of the department’s new crisis intervention teams wasn’t sent to respond to the 911 call, which was about a domestic disturbance involving a man with a gun.
“My heart goes out to the Franklin family. I don’t think this young man had to die,” Dawkins wrote. “My questions start with why there didn’t seem to be any effort to deescalate the situation?”
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney held a press conference with Mayor Vi Lyles and members of the Charlotte City Council this morning to discuss the video release. He said that it will be another week before the case is turned over to the district attorney’s office for review, and another six to eight weeks after that before a decision is made about whether or not Kerl will face charges.
At this morning’s press conference, Lyles said she had not seen the video, but that it was important for city leaders to get in front of an issue that has the potential to stir reactions from the community.
“We owe it to the community to see for themselves what has been recorded,” Lyles said,”but please remember, this is just one of many pieces of evidence in two ongoing investigations … Whatever we see later today, as mayor, and on behalf of all of our city council and the many, many hours we’ve spent together weathering many, many storms, I call on all of Charlotte to come together respectfully.”
On April 24, CMPD released the full 11-minute video that shows conversations between officers at the scene following the shooting. In the video, Kerl can be heard repeatedly stating, “He wouldn’t drop it,” and “I had to,” in reference to the shooting. No medical aid was given to Franklin until the Charlotte Fire Department arrives on scene about four minutes after the shooting.
Kerl can be heard asking Deal if his body camera was on at the time of the shooting. It was not. Deal has since been suspended by CMPD, reportedly for an incident that happened before the Danquirs Franklin shooting. Putney has stated that CMPD’s investigation into the shooting would look into why Deal’s camera was not turned on.
CMPD also announced today that its internal investigation is over, and the case has been turned over to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office. As mentioned above, it is expected to take six to eight weeks for the district attorney to announce whether Kerl will face charges in connection with the shooting.