WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released the body-cam video of the fatal police shooting of 27-year-old Danquirs Franklin. The video was released first to WBTV’s Chief Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner, who petitioned a judge for its release.
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has released video of the moments leading up to and after the fatal police shooting of Danquirs Franklin.
The 27-year-old was shot by veteran CMPD officer Wende Kerl, who has been a part of the department since 1995, around 9 a.m. on March 25 in the parking lot of the Burger King on Beatties Ford Road.
The body-cam video, released by police on Monday afternoon at 2 p.m., is two minutes and twenty seconds long. The first 30 seconds of the video does not have audio, which is standard for body-camera video released by CMPD. This edited video shows the moments leading up to the fatal shooting of Franklin on March 25, 2019.
In the body-cam video, officers Kerl and Larry Diehl drew their guns immediately upon getting out of their vehicles. Between the two officers, Franklin was instructed to either “drop the weapon” or “put the gun on the ground” at least 20 times.
A minute and ten seconds passes from the time Kerl exits her vehicle to the shooting.
Hours before the release of the video, city leaders united outside the Government Center in uptown Charlotte to call for a calm and measured community reaction. Mayor Vi Lyles and council members said they had not seen the video before holding the press conference.
“We owe it to the community for them to see what has been recorded,” said Lyles. “We will all work together - protest is important - people have the right to do that.”
There are at least seven protests planned according to Chief Putney, who answered questions at the gathering.
“We are prepared for the worst but hoping for the best," said the CMPD Chief, who reiterated there is “clear and compelling evidence that Mr. Franklin was armed” at the time of the shooting.
“We expect it to be peaceful," said the Chief. "We expect there to be more.”
When asked to describe what can be seen in the video, Chief Putney called it a punch to gut: “It’s hard to watch. It’s hard to see. A life has been lost.”
Mayor Lyles, visibly emotional as she called for calm across the city, urged a response that is respectful after the release of the video.
Police also released two 911 calls, shortly after the incident, made from witnesses at the Burger King describing an armed man in the restaurant.
In the first call, a woman describes an African-American man inside the restaurant headed towards the counter to “fight an employee.” Halfway through the call, the woman starts repeating the same phrase - “he got a gun.”
The caller said the man was fighting an employee before waiting outside and standing by the menu board.
Police say they engaged the man described in the 911 calls in the parking lot and “repeatedly ordered him to drop his gun” when they arrived on scene.
“I have never experienced anything like this in my life,” a woman told a 911 operator in the second emergency call released to WBTV.
The woman told police the man reached into his pants, possibly going for a weapon, as he approached her car. The caller told the dispatcher she drove away from the restaurant and believed the man went back inside the store.
The woman told the 911 dispatcher she saw people around the Burger King drive off at that point and employees of the store running.
In the days following the shooting, dozens of people gathered at the shooting scene and called for the body-cam video to be released by police.
“He was pretty much a loving, caring person," said Vanessa Cloud, one of Franklin’s former high school classmates.
"He loved basketball, he loves his kids, his friends and family so that’s definitely not the person that I know,” Cloud told WBTV’s Bria Bell.
Wednesday, the police department discussed an education campaign focusing on the investigation process for officer-involved shootings and the release of body-worn camera video.
The campaign is intended to help the community understand the methods and timing associated with the release of information during officer-involved shootings.
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney has reiterated body-camera footage does not tell or show the entire story of why an officer chooses to use deadly force on multiple occasions since Franklin’s death.