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Chief Calls Shooting Video 'Troubling,' Hopes To Finish Investigation Next Week

Kerr Putney
David Boraks

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said Tuesday he hopes as early next Friday, April 26, to present the Mecklenburg County district attorney with results of an internal investigation into the March 25 police shooting of a man outside a west Charlotte fast-food restaurant.

It typically takes the D.A. 90 days to review the case and decide whether or not to file charges. Officer Wende Kerl is the white officer who shot the African American suspect, Danquirs Franklin, at the Burger King on Beatties Ford Road.

Body camera video released Monday shows Kerl and another officer ordering Franklin to drop a gun before she shot him.

Putney, Mayor Vi Lyles and City Manager Marcus Jones met residents at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum at the Belmont Center. Putney said it's not his job to defend the officer, but he has to follow the legal process.

"This is one of the most troubling videos I've seen," Putney said. "And the truth of the matter is, I'm happy that there are many levels of accountability. I'm not gonna defend a thing. That's not my job. I'm not going to defend the officer's actions. I'm not out there to vilify Franklin."

But he warned that any decision whether to prosecute the officer will have to follow the national legal standard. Courts have ruled that officers are justified in shooting if they perceive an imminent deadly threat.

Putney said he has told Franklin's mother he will seek justice - whatever the outcome is.

"And I promised her I'm going to be a fact seeker and a seeker of justice. And if that means whatever outcome there is, that's the outcome we're going to achieve," he said.

One woman asked: "I wondered why the officer didn't say to the gentleman put your hands up first?"

Putney replied: "I've reviewed this I don't know how many times, I mean I have.  What I do see is, what I do hear is, two times, 'Show me your hands.'"

In response to another question about fatal shootings and underlying problems in the city, Mayor Lyles said she wants to give more money to community-based outreach programs. The city currently sets aside $30,000 annually for community organizations focusing on life skills and conflict resolution.  But the mayor said she no longer believes that's enough.

"My goal would be that we filter activities and programs that we fund out of our general fund in a way that has an impact," Lyles said "So I’m going to continue to work with the chief, the city council, and let’s set an amount that we’re going to do, and let’s get it done this year."

City Manager Marcus Jones told the crowd to look for new funding in the budget he presents to the city council in May.

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.