BY MICHAEL GORDON
UPDATED DECEMBER 01, 2020 10:39 PM
Watch newly released body cam video that shows what lead to Danquirs Franklin being shot by police outside a Burger King in 2019. BY CMPD
But after raging inside the restaurant on Beatties Ford Road, Franklin appears to calm down. When police arrived, the 27-year-old had put his gun inside his clothing and was talking with restaurant manager Timothy Grier beside Grier’s parked car, video shows. Witnesses have said Franklin was praying in the moments before he was shot and killed on March 25, 2019.
One video surveillance clip, released Tuesday by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, shows Franklin resting his head on Grier’s chest. Franklin’s ex-girlfriend and another Burger King employee walk over to him, appearing unconcerned about their safety.
Moments later, Franklin would lie dying on the pavement, fatally shot by CMPD Officer Wende Kerl.
A lawsuit against Kerl filed by Franklin’s mother says Franklin was trying to comply with the officer’s orders to put his handgun on the ground when he was twice shot.
The Observer has previously reported that Franklin appeared to be lowering his gun at the moment he was shot.
Kerl’s attorney, Lori Keeton of Charlotte, told the Observer on Tuesday that the video of Franklin’s behavior inside the Burger King illustrates “why Officer Kerl was forced to use deadly force for the first time in her then 25-year career.”
However, CMPD officers did not see the Burger King surveillance videos until after the shooting but were responding to multiple 911 calls reporting an armed man inside the building. CMPD was also monitoring live video of the exterior of the restaurant from a nearby traffic camera.
Franklin’s death set off protests in the city. His mother’s lawsuit was filed two weeks after the May 2020 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis set off demonstrations worldwide.
Now, hours of new video released under a judge’s order by CMPD at the request of the Observer capture the quickly evolving scene at the west Charlotte restaurant. ‘Like NASCAR on the road’ Extreme speeding increasingly brings death to NC highways READ MORE
Many of the clips inside the restaurant — none of them with audio — give the public the most complete picture to date of when Franklin came to the Burger King with his two children, looking for an employee who, according to court documents, was sleeping with Franklin’s longtime partner.
His family’s lawsuit says the mother of his children had sex with her restaurant coworker the night before in Franklin’s bed, with Franklin’s children in the home.
The video inside the Burger King shows a morning lull just before 9 a.m. that day.
Then Franklin arrives with his two youngest children. He walks up to the door holding his daughter’s hand. He leaves them outside the door as he rushes past the counter and veers into the kitchen. The children follow.
After chasing his former partner’s boyfriend from the restaurant — Franklin has his gun pointed at the fleeing man at one point, but doesn’t fire — Franklin walks back inside. He leaps on the front counter and crouches there. He then jumps to the floor and pins his former girlfriend against a wall.
He leaves her, only to begin violently pushing and punching at the restaurant’s glass door, screaming in anger.
When he sees Grier’s car pull up in front of the building, he leaves the building for the last time.
The police are only minutes away.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Wende Kerl shot and killed Danquirs Franklin at Burger King on Beatties Ford Road in March 2019. BY STEPHANIE BUNAO | JEFF SINER | JOSHUA KOMER
But the city’s Citizen Review Board took the unusual step of finding the shooting unjustified and asked then-Police Chief Kerr Putney to change his finding.
The board’s finding was only the second time in its 23-year history that it broke with police leadership on a shooting by an officer or use of force. “
CMPD clearly erred in finding the Franklin shooting justified,” board chair Tonya Jameson said in February after the board’s unanimous decision.
In a statement accompanying the released videos, police said they had received two “frantic” 911 calls from the Burger King reporting an armed man outside and then inside the restaurant.
After police arrived, the statement said, Kerl “perceived an imminent, deadly threat” and fired twice.
None of the new video shows the shooting as clearly as that from Kerl’s body camera, which shows the officers shouting for Franklin to put down his gun. Kerl fires when Franklin appears to be slowly putting his gun on the ground, the muzzle pointed away from the officers.
On the video, Franklin looks puzzled after being shot. “You told me to …” he can be heard saying. Play VideoDuration 2:59
Law professors agree CMPD officers don’t provide medical aid and are not required to if they don’t have the training to treat a gunshot wound. BY STEPHANIE BUNAO | AMES ALEXANDER
The Franklin lawsuit follows earlier civil complaints against CMPD officers and the city of Charlotte surrounding the controversial police killings of Keith Lamont Scott and Ruben Galindo. Franklin and Scott were Black; Galindo, Latino.
It also came after two weeks of protests in Charlotte and around the world over the police killing of George Floyd.
Floyd, a North Carolina native, died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. The police officer, who was fired and charged with second-degree murder, is white.
Staff writers Lauren Lindstrom and Ames Alexander contributed.