'Danquirs Changed Lives': People Gather To Protest Fatal Shooting, Remember Danquirs Franklin
Protesters gathered peacefully around Charlotte Monday night in response to the body-cam video CMPD released earlier in the day, capturing the fatal police shooting of 27-year-old Danquirs Franklin.
In Marshall Park, people came together both in protest of the shooting and in memory of Franklin. Alexis Jackson, who said she was Franklin’s cousin and grew up with him, painted a picture of a peaceful man with a future ahead of him.
“Danquirs changed lives, not just mine,” she said. “He meant something to our family. He was a success story in our family.”
She continued: “He wrote a book. He played basketball with the cops. Did you see that on YouTube?”
(Franklin co-wrote a book titled, "There's No Danger in the Water: Encouraging Black Men to Become Mentors" with Dr. Belay D. Reddick. According to the Amazon description, the book talks about ways to "inspire African-American boys and affect positive change in their lives.")
Jackson said she heard that her cousin was praying with the general manager of the west Charlotte Burger King before he died. CMPD had received 911 calls of an armed man inside the Burger King off Beatties Ford Road, near Interstate 85.
“My cousin died praying. My cousin died praying. He put the gun down and you shot him anyway?” she said. “He didn’t even have time to put down the gun.”
[Related Content: Marshall Park Protesters Express Outrage Over Video Of Fatal Police Shooting]
Video showed Franklin squatting next to an open car door, with a man sitting in the passenger seat. The man has not been identified, but said in the video that he was the "GM."
Jackson said she hadn’t planned on talking, but wanted to take the mic to share a message with Charlotte’s white community:
“It ain't easy being black, white people. I don’t mean to say it like that, but it’s not easy being black,” she said.
She urged unity and community conversation in the wake of her cousin’s death.
“Don’t just rally up. Walk in the communities. If you knock on my door, I’m going to talk to you,” she said. “This cannot happen again. This cannot happen again. And if it do, that’s our fault.”
Rev. Rodney Sadler had a similar message. The Mount Carmel Baptist Church pastor said police shootings are “becoming far too common.”
“It seems like far too many times we’re coming out to this park because we’ve lost another human life,” he said. “We were here after we lost Jonathan Ferrell, we were here after we lost Keith Lamont Scott, and we’re here again today.
“It seems the time has come for us to change the way that we react. It seems like now is the time for us to change the way that we treat black and brown people in the city of Charlotte, amen?”
Protesters in the crowd held signs reading “Stop the Police” and “Don’t Call The Cops on Black People.”
People also created a memorial to Franklin, writing his name in chalk on the ground outlined by a heart, flowers and candles.
Meanwhile in West Charlotte at the Burger King on Beatties Ford Road where Franklin was shot and killed there was a small demonstration. Tony Ford and a group of friends gathered to call for steps to make the community he grew up in safer. He brought his nine-year-old Taraji daughter with him. She was holding a neon pink sign that said “Love is stronger than hate.” Ford said he wants to set an example for his daughter.
“It’s important to make an impact within your community. And it starts at home," he said. "If I show her these things if she sees that 'hey my dad was an activist within the community when I was growing up and I remember him being out here promoting peace.' Then she’ll grow up with that same mentality.”
Taraji has a friend who lost his father to gun violence she understands how it affects a family. Ford said he didn’t talk to his daughter about the CMPD body cam video.
The video taken from CMPD officer Wende Kerl’s body-cam gives a look at the moments leading up to and after she fired the two shots, striking and killing Franklin. The footage, which was 2 minutes 20 seconds long, shows that Franklin did have a gun, but it appears that it was not pointed at officers or the person sitting in the passenger seat of the car next to him.
The footage shows Franklin squatting next to the open door of the car, with his left hand between his legs.
He is told at least 24 times to drop his weapon by both Kerl and another responding officer, whose name has not been released.
Franklin then moves his right hand holding a gun. It appears the butt of the gun is facing the passenger, with the barrel pointed inward.
Kerl — who CMPD said perceived a lethal threat — fires two shots at Franklin while his hand moves, striking and killing him. As officers continue to demand he drop the gun, it appears Franklins says to officers, “You told me to…” while he slowly slumps to the ground. Those appear to be his last words before he died.
When Kerl moves toward Franklin’s body, she picks up a black gun from the ground.
Charlotte City Council members also attended community events Monday night. Members took turns leaving the regularly scheduled zoning meeting to go out into events happening around the community. A shuttle transported members to different events in Grier Heights, Hidden Valley, Nations Ford Community Church and Beatties Ford Road.
Council Member Braxton Winston was among those attending the protest and remembrance at Marshall Park.