Judge Rules Release Of Body Cam Footing In Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting Of Danquirs Franklin
A judge has ruled that the body-cam footage from last month’s fatal officer-involved shooting of 27-year-old Danquirs Franklin must be released Monday.
Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Donnie Hoover ruled Thursday that the footage must be released to petitioners at noon and then to the general public at 2 p.m.
The video captures the fatal shooting of Franklin by CMPD Officer Wende Kerl on March 25 outside of a Burger King off Beatties Ford Road.
Police said officers responded to the 911 calls of an armed man inside the fast food restaurant. CMPD said when officers arrived, they encountered Franklin in the parking lot of the Burger King. According to CMPD, Kerl “perceived a lethal threat” and fired her weapon, hitting Franklin. He was transported to the hospital where he later died.
CMPD did not oppose the release of the video, but asked that Franklin’s family be given enough time to view the footage before it is made public.
Kerl’s attorney, Jeremy Smith, objected to the video being made public, citing concerns for her safety and possibilities that it could impact a fair trial.
"The main concern that we have has to do with the criminal investigation and the way that it can be I impacted against Ms. Kerl in a way that is not supportive of her due process rights,” Smith said.
The District Attorney’s office also objected, saying it could interfere with its investigation and taint what witnesses of the shooting remember.
After considering the arguments from the media, CMPD, the defense and the DA's office, Hoover ordered the video's release with a few conditions: That the faces of the some of the people in the video be blurred and that it not be made public until Monday — giving Franklin's family time to veiw it.
In the hours following the shooting, crowds gathered outside of the Burger King and criticized CMPD. Some protestors said that Franklin was not armed during the shooting.
CMPD says a gun was recovered at the scene.
Community members have called for the release of the video footage.
“We have all of these citizens in the Beatties Ford Corridor who’s waiting to find out what the facts are. And every citizen in Charlotte. We want to know exactly what happened,” Charlotte NAACP President Corine Mack told WCCB. “I believe that in order to dispel any more whispers, or gossip, or innuendos, the video will tell it all."
Multiple media outlets petitioned for the video’s release. Nick Ochsner of WBTV led arguments in favor of releasing the footage.