Judge orders release of deadly Burger King officer-involved shooting video

Judge orders release of body camera video in fatal officer-involved shooting

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Body-cam video from a deadly officer-involved shooting at a Charlotte Burger King will be released Monday, a judge ruled Thursday.

The video will be released to petitioners at noon Monday and to the public at 2 p.m.

WBTV’s Chief Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner was the first reporter to petition, requesting the release of the video. Ochsner’s request came days after police say 27-year-old Danquirs Franklin was killed in a Burger King parking lot by veteran Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Wende Kerl.

Officer Kerl, who fatally shot Franklin about 9 a.m. March 25 outside the restaurant on Beatties Ford Road, has been a part of the department since 1995.

“Body camera video exists to provide the most complete picture of truth,” Ochsner argued in court. “It acts as another set of eyes to what happened during the shooting.”

Ochsner requested the video be released as soon as possible because "we continue to see outcry and questions from the public.”

In court, an attorney for the CMPD said they will not object to the release of the video but they want to blur the faces of the citizens that were around the suspect at the time of the shooting and they would prefer to release the video on Monday to allow the man’s family to view the video.

The state did not object to the release of be video but preferred police finalize their investigations before the release.

Officer Wende Kerl’s attorney objected to the release of the video in part because it would potentially impact the process of a fair trial. The attorney did clarify that they do not object to the release of the video once the police investigation is complete.

In the days following the shooting, dozens of people gathered at the shooting scene and called for video to be released. Officer Kerl says Franklin made a lethal move. Community members want to know if the video shows a “perceived lethal threat.”

Body-worn cameras, which are not required by state or federal law, are activated before an officer arrives at a call for service or in the anticipation of a crime-related encounter with the public.

Three days after the shooting, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney hosted an event addressing the concerns and questions from the community. When asked about his officers’ body-cam video footage being made available after shooting, he explained that a superior court judge is responsible for making the video available to the public.

Anyone in the community has the right to petition a judge for the release of body-worn cameras following a shooting.

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Putney also said he wants the public to realize while body-camera footage is an important part of the investigation, it does not tell or show the entire story of why an officer chooses to use deadly force.

Wednesday, the police department discussed an education campaign focusing on the investigation process for officer-involved shootings and the release of body-worn camera video.

The campaign is intended to help the community understand the methods and timing associated with the release of information during officer-involved shootings.

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