Charlotte ministers react to video of fatal officer-involved shooting

Community reacts after CMPD body camera footage released

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte community leaders are responding to the video released Monday of the latest Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) fatal officer-involved shooting.

Community leaders say they were saddened and angry. Danquirs Franklin, 27, was shot and killed by veteran officer Wende Kerl on March 25 in the parking lot of the Burger King on Beatties Ford Road. The officer-worn body camera video shows officers repeatedly asking Franklin to put down the weapon.

“There was no threat,” Mecklenburg County NAACP President Rev. Corine Mack said. “I don’t care what anyone says - there was no threat. You stole this man’s life.”

People in the community say what they saw on the tape didn’t show Franklin pointing the gun at the officer. Community religious leaders believe Franklin was trying to put down the weapon when he was shot. Ministers say they were troubled when they saw the tape.

“I was devastated and very sad to see,” Little Rock AME Zion Pastor Dwayne Walker said. “Of course, my heart goes out to the Franklin family, as well as the family of the officer that’s involved. Surely they are devastated as well, and of course the whole Charlotte community.”

Walker says he is praying for peace as the community and city work together to come up with solutions to prevent this type of shooting from happening again. Leaders don’t want a repeat protests from the Keith Lamont Scott shooting.

“One thing that we don’t want to do is make a bad situation worse,” Walker said. “And I think how we handle it will certainly hopefully bring something that is tragic and we can begin to bring some healing out of this awful situation.”

Local NAACP President says violence is not the answer.

“We are not trying to hurt our city,” Mack said. “We are trying to build our city, edify our city and unify - and here’s the time we need to unify.”

The Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice showed up at Marshall Park Monday night to hear people voice their frustrations about the shooting. The clergy say this latest shooting proves their mission is not complete.

"We are working to make sure that black and brown people stand the same chance as anybody else when the police are encountering them," Director of Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation Rev. Rodney Sadler said. "We want to make sure that everybody has equal opportunity to thrive in this great city."

The clergy says they want policies to change to help police better de-escalate situations. They say they don't like coming to Marshall Park time after time speaking out against officer involved shootings. They say enough is enough.

"It is very sad when we see that people who don't look like us," First Baptist Church West Associate Minister Glencie Rhedrick said. "Who are not black and brown can have automatic weapons in their hands and have shotguns in their hands - can have pistols in their hands and still be taken alive. Why can't we?"

The coalition admits they will have to leave the four walls of their churches to make a difference. They say they won't lose faith.

“We have to go to city council and stand up as religious leaders and say we are calling for a better city," Sadler said. "We also have to tell our congregations, ‘look, you got to get out and work to make this a better city.’ So our job is not to just stand in pulpits and preach - our job is to help us realize our responsibilities as people and citizens.”

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