CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Dozens of people packed the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Thursday night for a meeting with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney. CMPD hosted the event called ‘Let’s Talk’ as part of their ‘Bridging The Difference’ initiative.
The meeting presented an opportunity for community members to ask all sorts of questions about officer-involved shootings.
It’s only been a few days since 27-year-old Danquirs Franklin was shot and killed by a CMPD officer at a Burger King off Beatties Ford Road in west Charlotte.
Police have said Franklin had a weapon and their officer perceived a threat when responding to the situation.
At the very beginning of Thursday night’s meeting, Putney made it clear that the gathering would not be joyful.
“These are not good times. The truth of it is, I’m very, very tired of meeting like this. I really am,” Putney told the crowd.
After speaking briefly about officer-involved shootings and allowing the department’s attorney to talk about the legalities of the situations, Putney opened the floor up for questions from members of the public.
When asked about his officers exhibiting bias, Putney responded that all his officers go through bias training. 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.
When the topic of race came up, Putney offered sobering statistics about homicides in Charlotte.
“80 percent of the people who commit homicide in this jurisdiction right now look like me,” said Putney. “85 percent of them, the victims, look like me.”
Protesters tried to disrupt the meeting Thursday night. When they tried to interrupt the chief, Putney told them off.
“Am I talking to you?” Putney asked one particularly noisy protester. “If you don’t care, leave. If you don’t care, get out.”
After the meeting, officers tried to level with some of the protesters outside of the church. Some people weren’t satisfied with the chief’s dialogue regarding office-involved shootings.
“When it comes to use of force and their use of force continuum, there’s too many gray areas. There’s a lot of things that are left to perception,” said Charlotte activist Kass Ottley.
Others thought the chief did the best he could.
“You gotta keep in mind, he’s a human being. He doesn’t have all the answers to human problems or human situations, but we just have to come together and resolve our issues because it takes two to resolve,” said Rhandu Adams, Director of Youth Engagement for the Mecklenburg Council of Elders.
While the chief did reference Monday’s deadly officer-involved shooting, he did not discuss any specifics regarding what happened. The case is currently under review