Newly released body camera footage appears to show that a man in Charlotte, North Carolina, was trying to obey police’s orders to drop his weapon prior to being shot and killed.
On March 25, officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department responded to at least one 911 call about a man “pointing [a gun] at employees” of a local Burger King, according to CNN. When officers arrived at the scene, they encountered 27-year-old Danquirs Franklin in the parking lot. Franklin had a gun and would not obey multiple commands to drop it, police said. Eventually, one of the officers, Wende Kerl, shot and killed him.
The shooting sparked considerable controversy in the Charlotte area due to some conflicting witness statements about what happened, The Charlotte Observer reported. The shooting occurred in the same city where Keith Scott was killed by police back in 2016. Conflicting reports about whether or not Scott was armed were never really settled, and the officer who shot him did not face criminal charges.
In Franklin’s case, Kerl’s lawyer and the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office did not want body camera footage to be released. A judge disagreed, ruling that the footage must be released to the public Monday.
The footage, which is below, shows police approaching Franklin, who’s squatting next to the passenger seat of a car in the Burger King parking lot. Officers, including Kerl, scream at him multiple times to put his gun down. It’s not even clear that Franklin has a weapon until his right hand slowly comes into view with what appears to be a handgun in it. Franklin was not pointing the gun at anyone; in fact, it looked as though he was trying to put it on the ground. But as soon as the gun becomes visible, Kerl fires two shots at him.
“You told me to…” Kerl can be heard saying:
Franklin was taken to a local hospital, where he died. A man with a blurred out face can be seen sitting in the passenger’s seat of the car, right next to where Franklin was kneeling. That man told WCNC that he had been praying with Franklin.
This is clearly a situation where there are many questions remaining. We don’t, for instance, know exactly what happened in the lead-up to police involvement. However, it looks as though Franklin was trying to obey their orders to put down the gun. He certainly didn’t look to be drawing the gun with the intent of firing it. Hopefully, more answers will come out in the days to come.