City Leaders Address Community Ahead Of Body-Cam Release

Apr 15, 2019
Originally published on April 15, 2019 4:04 pm

Earlier today ahead of the video's release, Mayor Vi Lyles was emotional as she addressed the media Monday morning, ahead of the release of body-cam footage capturing the March 25 fatal shooting of Danquirs Franklin by CMPD Officer Wende Kerl at a Burger King on Beatties Ford Road in west Charlotte

"He was someone's son, he's a dad. Isn't that the right time to be emotional? Isn't that the right time to show the caring? That police officer had to go through this, isn't it the right time to understand the depth of emotions for everyone?" Lyles said, surrounded by the rest of the City Council. "So yes, I am emotional. And it's for the right reason."

Lyles said neither she nor members of the council have viewed the footage that a judge ordered to be released Monday — first, at noon to members of the media who petitioned the court and then to the general public at 2 p.m. Lyles said she knows the public will view the footage and make their own opinions about the fatal incident, but she urged caution.

The body-cam video captures the March 25 fatal shooting of Franklin by CMPD Officer Wende Kerl at a Burger King on Beatties Ford Road in west Charlotte.
Sarah Delia / WFAE

"This is an instance that we — as mayor and City Council — see openness as necessary. We owe it to the community to see for themselves what has been recorded," Lyles said. "But please remember, this is just one of many pieces of evidence in two ongoing investigations."

Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Donnie Hoover ruled last week that the footage must be released. The video captures the fatal shooting of Franklin by CMPD Officer Wende Kerl at a Burger King on Beatties Ford Road in west Charlotte.

Police say officers were responding to 911 calls, at least one of which reported armed man inside the restaurant. When police arrived they encountered Franklin in the Burger King parking lot. CMPD says Franklin did not respond to multiple commands to drop his weapon and that Kerl, perceiving a "lethal threat," fired her gun, striking Franklin. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

Protesters gathered outside of the restaurant in the hours following the shooting. Many criticized CMPD for using lethal force and said that Franklin was not armed in the encounter.

Police say a gun was recovered at the scene, and CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said there is "clear and compelling evidence" that Franklin was armed.

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney explains body-worn cameras.
CMPD / YouTube

Community members have called for the release of the footage, as have local media outlets led by WBTV's Nick Ochsner, who filed a petition with the court requesting that the police body camera video be released.

Mayor Lyles said the city is hosting various talks throughout Charlotte to give the community a space to voice their concerns.

Chief Putney said the police department is anticipating protests, as multiple groups have already announced plans to gather.

"We are prepared for the worst, but hope for the best — as always," Putney said. "We expect this to be people voicing their opinion. We expect it to be peaceful."

Putney has viewed the footage, and when asked his opinion of the video, he said:

"My opinion? I can tell you my response to it. It's like a punch to the gut. It's hard to watch. It's hard to see because a life's been lost. It's like any other time you see somebody lose their life. All I say is, I hope you'll do what we're doing and pray for Ms. Franklin and her family. Pray for our officers whose lives have been destroyed as well. Come together as a community. Be heard, but be lawful."