CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has updated their body-worn camera policy weeks after the department was found to have only released less than three minutes of an eleven minute video showing the fatal officer-involved shooting of Danquirs Franklin in April.
The policy, which was updated Friday, states after receiving a petition to release body camera video, the department will review the footage in its entirety. The policy continues to say that “under no circumstances will CMPD alter or edit a video’s content or length unless ordered to do so by a Judge of the Superior Court.”
WBTV’s Chief Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner was first to petition the court for release of the video from Franklin’s shooting.
A judge ordered the video released but, in response to the order, CMPD only released 2:20 of the 11:01 video.
Change comes after court action from WBTV reporter
After the first release, CMPD later admitted the full video ran more than eleven minutes. In a court filing, the department confirmed it only transmitted 2:20 of the video to a judge for review prior to the hearing on whether the video should be released. The department did not tell the judge it had edited the video.
Although the department did not release the full video in response to a judge’s order, it did show the full 11:01 video to members of the Charlotte City Council prior to any court order taking effect.
As a result, Ochsner filed a motion asking a judge to hold the department in contempt for violating two court orders: the one ordering the department to send video of the shooting and the second order ordering the video released at a specific date and time.
A judge signed an order requiring CMPD to explain in court why it didn’t send the full video to the judge in the first place.
In the second hearing, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney testified that city attorneys made a recommendation regarding the length of the video released and that he ultimately made the final decision.
At the conclusion of the second hearing, a judge said she did not believe CMPD had violated the second order by showing the full video to the city council but such an order has not been entered.
The judge is still considering whether to hold the department in contempt for violating the first order by not sending the full 11:01 video.
Also at the conclusion of the second hearing, the judge ordered CMPD to release the full 11 minute video.
New policy specifies how video will be just for review
The policy states the video will be reviewed to ensure that it is complete and unedited before being delivered to the Superior Court. The court will then determine if the footage “is relevant to the petitioner’s request.”
Within seven days, the police chief will determine the earliest date to release the video based on the status of the investigation.
The updated policy additionally details the release of body camera video without a court order to the District Attorney for review of potential criminal charges and criminal proceedings.
The CMPD chief may also release the video without a court order to be used for training purposes.