CMPD's de-escalation procedures questioned following release of video from police shooting

Questions and opinions continue to swirl around the police shooting of an armed man at a north Charlotte Burger King three weeks ago.

A leader of the North Carolina group pushing for criminal justice reform doesn't believe the District Attorney will end up filing criminal charges against the officer who shot and killed Danquirs Franklin, but he does have questions about whether that Charlotte Mecklenburg police officer followed policy and procedure.

Body camera footage from the incident released on Monday shows Franklin crouching on the ground with a gun in his hand when CMPD officers come up to him. He’s told to show his hands and drop the gun before Officer Wende Kerl fires the fatal shots.

“As a citizen, I saw a missed opportunity to save someone's life,” Dawkins said. “We never saw the police try to de-escalate,” Robert Dawkins with SAFE Coalition NC.

Dawkins believes police could have done more to get Franklin to comply before he was shot and killed by police in the Burger King parking lot on Beatties Ford Road three weeks ago. 

“’Lay down, put your hands where we can see them.’ They could have made Danquirs lay on the ground and then got the gun from him, but from what I see, I can't tell 100 percent that he was not trying to comply.” 

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney had a similar response when speaking to the community at a breakfast Tuesday morning. 

“To me what I’d like to see ‘show me your hands, let me see your palms, ok this is what I need you to do,’ that would be the ideal. I’m just being honest with you, I have yet to have the ideal happen in 27 and a half years,” Putney said. 

In 2017, the Citizens Review Board recommended changes at CMPD related to de-escalation tactics, vehicle takedowns and reaction time of officers. 

Chief Putney said at the time that the department had already implemented some of the changes in its training, but he added that officers' options are limited when a suspect is armed.

“Our struggle is how do you overcome that imminent threat when a life is in jeopardy and I can't tell you that spray, prayer or whatever else is going to overcome that threat right now.” 

Putney said on Tuesday that only one of the officer's body cameras was working on the morning of the shooting at Burger King.

Dawkins says that's a big problem because we don't know if the police officer who was there before the officer with the body camera arrived tried to de-escalate the situation with Franklin.

The District Attorney's office will determine if criminal charges will be filed against Kerl. A separate internal investigation by CMPD will take place after the DA makes his decision. That investigation will look at whether the officer followed CMPD policy and procedure.

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