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Mayor Vi Lyles Offers Thoughts And Reaction To Video Of Danquirs Franklin Shooting

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David Boraks / WFAE

CMPD on Monday released body-cam video in the fatal shooting of Danquirs Franklin, 27, outside a Burger King on Beatties Ford on March 25.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles joined WFAE's Lisa Worf to offer her reactions to seeing the video.

Officers were responding to call about a man at the restaurant who was armed with a gun.  The video appears to show Franklin, who was black, trying to lower his gun as ordered several times by Officer Wende Kerl, who is white, when Kerl shot him. 

Worf:  What did you see in the video?

Lyles: I saw the loss of life and that is just very, very difficult to watch. I continue to say our focus has to be on the family right now while the investigations are going on.

Worf: Does the shooting appear justified or unjustified in your view?

Lyles: I'm not a lawyer.  I trust that the internal investigation and the district attorney's investigation for both what we do internally as policy as well as what we do as a community for justice. I'm going to leave that to them. The video is disturbing and difficult to watch but it's one piece of the evidence that must be considered. And then there is the actual outcome that has to be announced by both CMPD Chief Kerr Putney as well as the district attorney.

Worf: What questions does it leave you with?

Lyles:  I think all of us are going to have a number of questions. People have said since the [Keith Scott] demonstration what have we done. I think that we are going to continue the de-escalation training. But I think that all of the community is right when we talk about the use of force and the chief has said explicitly that there were new policies with clearer expectations. But we also need to put more of an emphasis on de-escalation and illustrating better and deeper definitions of aggressive and passive subjects. I believe all of that is visible in that short video where a man lost his life and our accountability is to our policy.

Worf: Have you spoken to Chief Putney since seeing the video?

Lyles: I have not spoken with him. I saw the video yesterday shortly before the public saw it. He and I communicate often through the city manager. The chief is already talking about a community crisis response team. We've already approved that in the budget, that's going to be implemented.  I think he also looked at some of the data and said ‘who responds best to these type of incidents and how can we train everyone to respond in the way that those officers have so that we can have better outcomes.’

Worf:  Chief Putney has said the department is reviewing rules on when lethal force can be used. Nearly two years ago the Citizens Review Board voted 8 to 0 to make policy recommendations to CMPD concerning policies applied and decisions made following the shooting of Keith Scott. Do you think policies regarding lethal force really need to change?

Lyles: I think that the policy may need to change. I can't determine that, but I think the training has to be deeper and more applicable to what our situations are. So when we have a case like this we need to ask ‘have they gone back and reviewed it and do the policies need to be amended or changed?’ But more than policy and words on paper is the training and the accountability that's most important

Worf:  When you say deeper and more applicable what do you mean by that?

Lyles:  We have SWAT teams that are trained to deal with situations and they seem to have good outcomes. If you listen to that 911 call and the people inside the restaurant and you listen to what's going on, we should ask ourselves:  Who is supposed to be there? How does that work? What do we need to do to de-escalate that? I think the chief is going to hear the questions from the community and those questions will be addressed.

Worf:  Council members were going in and out of last night's meeting to attend different protest events.   Did council members do this on their own or was this discussed as a group?

Lyles:  Each person chose to do that during our zoning meeting.  Zoning is a pretty prescribed legal process, so we had to have a meeting that followed that process. But I think all of us during that entire time were thinking ‘what is our community like, what are our citizens saying, and how are we reacting to something that was very, very tough during the day.’

Worf:  What kind of lessons did you learn following the Keith Scott shooting and the city's response that you put in place yesterday?

Lyles:  I think that what you saw was actually a dialogue with the community and groups large and small. We believe that if we continue to be open and we tell people what we can do and what we can't do, then people will believe that.  I trust that the community has heard that the council and my role is to continue to communicate openly with them.