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CMPD chief on fatal shooting: 'It's like a punch to the gut'
City leaders urge calm after video release
Published Monday, April 15, 2019 6:18 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

Video from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Wende Kerl moments before she shot and killed Danquirs Franklin, 27, last month at a fast-food restaurant in Charlotte.

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Charlotte’s political and law enforcement leaders are prepared for protests after video of another police-involved shooting was made public.

Video from the fatal March 27 confrontation between Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Wende Kerl and Danquirs Franklin at a Burger King on Beatties Ford Road showed police ordered Franklin to surrender his handgun more than a dozen times before Kerl shot him. Superior Court Judge Donnie Hoover ordered the release of the video taken from Kerl’s body camera. Franklin was black. Kerl is white.

“It’s like a punch to the gut,” CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said Monday at a press conference with City Council members and Mayor Vi Lyles. “It’s hard to watch, it’s hard to see because a life’s been lost. It’s like any other time you see someone lose their life, so all I say is I hope you do like we’re doing and pray for Miss Franklin and her family; pray for our officers whose lives has been destroyed as well, and come together as a community and be heard and be lawful.”

Community activists maintain city leaders and CMPD don’t do enough to hold officers responsible for their use of  lethal force.

“The city of Charlotte has never seen accountability from its police force,” said Charlotte Uprising organizer Glo Merriweather. “Chief Putney slandered Danquirs Franklin in the wake of him being shot, on his knees, by one of the officers Putney employs. If the video wasn’t released, people would still be saying Danquirs deserved to die. We want justice.”

The Kerl-Franklin shooting is the third involving a CMPD officer since December; two have resulted in fatalities. Officers on the scene reported seeing Franklin with a gun, which Kerl’s body cam video shows. Some civilian witnesses at the restaurant countered Franklin was unarmed.

“There is clear and compelling evidence Mr. Franklin is armed,” Putney said.

Said council member Braxton Winston, who gained notoriety as a leading voice of protest during the 2016 protests in response to the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by a CMPD officer: “This is the worst day in two people’s lives. We as an organization, as a council, as a mayor, as a police department, we have been very intentional to do this quote-unquote the right way.”

District Attorney Spencer Merriweather’s office is handling the criminal investigation into Kerl’s behavior, while CMPD is conducting an internal probe.

Mayor Vi Lyles said the city will follow CMPD’s lead in handling protests, and cautioned reporters to refrain from sensationalizing coverage.

“All of those are tools in the toolbox, but the most important tool in the toolbox is the trust that we have to have in each other to do right and to know that this council and I are committed to do that openly because we care and love this city,” she said. “We want it to be about this community coming together. There might be some anger. For me, it’s a lot of sadness.”

At least seven protests were scheduled in response to the shooting, and police will monitor those activities for any sign of trouble.

“We’ve been preparing for this for quite some time,” Putney said. “We are prepared for the worst but praying for the best, as always. There’s nothing specific that we’ve been doing that is different from how we prepare at any other time. The civil emergency unit continues to train; our bike officers continue to train. We expect this to be people expressing their opinion. We expect it to be peaceful. If it’s otherwise, we have to be prepared as well.”

Lyles, who was visibly shaken during the press conference, said the focus should be on supporting the individuals involved and their families as well as the city.

“He was someone’s son. He’s a dad,” she said. “Isn’t that the right time to be emotional? Isn’t it the right time to show the caring a police officer had to go through? Isn’t it the right time to understand the depth of emotions for everyone? So, yes, I am emotional, and it’s for the right reason.”


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