Judge orders release of full body cam video in deadly officer-involved shooting

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Tuesday, a judge ordered the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to release the entire body camera video of a police officer shooting and killing an armed man last month.

The video is expected to be released by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The body camera footage details the deadly interaction between a CMPD officer and a man armed with a gun last month outside a north Charlotte Burger King.

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A two and a half minute video released last week shows Officer Wende Kerl fatally shooting Danquirs Franklin at the Burger King on Beatties Ford Road.

The mayor and members of the City Council said they were mistakenly shown the entire body camera video of the deadly shooting.

Mayor Vi Lyles released a statement last Thursday saying city leaders were inadvertently shown more video than they should have.

“After the Superior Court ruled on the release of the body-worn cameras, I and the council viewed what we thought was soon-to-be available to the public,” Lyles said. “That was our intent. Inadvertently, we were shown more of the video than we should have.”

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Monday night, several city leaders made new calls for transparency after only two and a half minutes was released, but 11 minutes was recorded.

Councilman Braxton Winston said current law allowed CMPD's attorney to decide how much to show a judge, but he said he doesn't think that is right.

"Are we supposed to believe this is transparency? HB972 should be repealed. This law limits our ability for City Council to do our jobs," Winston said.

City Council saw the entire video and now, several members said in fairness, they believe others should see it too.

Mayor Vi Lyles said no matter the decision, she hopes the community trusts the investigation.

"At the end of the day, no matter how difficult it becomes, we are a community that believes that we can do this. And, we can do it with a safe community and trust in our leadership," Lyles said.

A judge signed off on the release of the initial video, but according to the city, The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department only produced the two minutes and 20 seconds directly related to the shooting, which is what the judge saw and released.

According to CMPD, the reason for this is that is what the media requested.

CMPD said the petition asked for: "The moments leading up to, during, and immediately after the shooting."

[CMPD chief wants to work with officers on being more specific with verbal commands]

The department responded by saying, "CMPD legally fulfilled the petitioner's request with the April 15 release."

Corine Mack with the NAACP and several other activists met with the city manager Thursday to express their frustration.

"It's a huge mistake, but because none of us are infallible, we make mistakes," Mack said. "Here is an opportunity for them to get it right. I don't make an assumption that there was anything sinister because that would be wrong of me but what I will say, I'm going to give them an opportunity to make it right."

On Thursday, Lyles said CMPD Chief Kerr Putney filed a petition to release the video to the public in Superior Court.

"We support his request. I continue to be grateful to be in a city like Charlotte, where we all see that openness is the ultimate goal of our city leaders. I ask for your continued understanding as we work through this process," Lyles said.

Putney testified on Tuesday that it was his call to release the two and a half minute video, saying he was the "final decision maker based on the recommendations" he had.

Putney also said in court that he had expressed reservations about showing the full video to the City Council, even though only the 2-minute clip was released to the public. Putney said the city manager told him he had received legal counsel on the move prior to showing the video to the council.

"The city attorney had assured him that it was OK to do so," Putney testified.

City Manager Marcus Jones told Channel 9 he made the call to show the video to the council despite Putney’s concerns because he thought it was important city leaders see it. He said he wanted leaders to see the video so they could properly engage with the community.

"I thought it was in the best interest of the city for the council to see the video footage," Jones said.

Jones said there is no rift between him and Putney and he 100 percent supports the chief.

“He had concerns, did he have a list saying these are my 52 concerns? Absolutely not, he just said ‘OK boss, this what you want to do? Then go for it,'" Jones said.

Jones went on to say he has full confidence in the police chief.

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