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Crime & Justice

Judge throws out lawsuit from 2019 Danquirs Franklin fatal police shooting

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A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit that accused a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer of needlessly escalating a 2019 standoff before fatally shooting a Black man.

Senior U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen on Friday threw out the lawsuit filed in June 2020 by Deborah Franklin, the mother of Danquirs Franklin, who was shot and killed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Wende Kerl outside a Burger King restaurant, news outlets reported.

The federal lawsuit claimed Kerl panicked, violated her training and “shocked” the other officer on the scene when she opened fire on Franklin outside the restaurant on March 25, 2019.

In his ruling, Mullen said Kerl probably made errors on the day of the shooting. But under the law, the judge said, they were reasonable ones, making Kerl immune to the claims in the lawsuit.

Franklin appeared to be complying with orders to lay down his weapon when Kerl shot him, according to video and a report by District Attorney Spencer Merriweather. However, Merriweather ruled the Franklin shooting was legally justified, saying his office couldn't prove that Kerl and the Burger King manager didn't have a reasonable fear for their safety given Franklin’s erratic behavior and the fact that he was armed.

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