A Charlotte police officer stood feet away from Danquirs Franklin after he collapsed, sending a radio call for help and talking to another officer. When medics arrived about four minutes later, she still hadn’t checked on him.
Franklin, who was shot by the police officer, later died in a Charlotte, North Carolina, hospital. His killing and the release of a shorter version of the officer’s bodycam video have renewed calls for transparency and accountability in the city.
Hours before the full 11-minute bodycam video was released Wednesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said he couldn’t speak about how people were going to react to the video.
“I know I don’t like how it looks and I think I’m pretty reasonable people,” Putney told reporters. “So, I think most reasonable people would want to see better.”
What happened in those nine minutes?
The full bodycam recording shows a more complete picture of the shooting’s aftermath.
Police initially released a 2½-minute clip showing officer Wende Kerl driving to a Burger King parking lot where Franklin was, how officers interacted with him, the shooting and a few seconds after it.
In the additional nine minutes of footage, Kerl and another officer are shown trying to use their radios to call for medics and backup, but the police frequency was busy for some time.
“I can’t get on the radio,” Kerl said about a minute after she shot Franklin.
As the officers were able to get on the radio, people could be heard crying and others walked to the restaurant’s entrance. Kerl stood mostly quiet next to a red Honda Accord and a few feet from where Franklin collapsed.
The video does not show any officers giving aid to Franklin.
“He pulled the gun,” Kerl tells the other officer as they wait for medics.
“Yes, he did. I know, he … are you OK, Wende?” a voice believed to be the other officer asks her.
“I’m alright,” she replied.
About four minutes after Kerl opened fire, medics arrived and began treating Franklin.
“The fact that he lay there and no one rendered him any kind of aid is inhumane and horrible,” said local activist Kass Ottley.
Another activist, Andrew Fede, criticized the officers’ actions, saying they did not try to resuscitate Franklin and let him “lay there dying.”
Police officers only have basic medical skills, chief says
Putney said police are responsible for rendering aid when there is an officer-involved shooting or an “officer-initiated injury,” but most officers only have basic medical training.
“Our job is to get better. What cannot be more disheartening is watching the video — and we see a lot of them — and appears that, but for training we could have rendered more aid,” Putney said. “I can tell you the specific video of Mr. Franklin is a good example.”
He said all officers have CPR training, and they know how to use defibrillators and apply tourniquets.
Putney announced Wednesday that the department would be updating its medical emergencies policy to have a closer collaboration with the fire department and offer more advanced training for officers.
Officer supported release of video
Jeremy Smith, an attorney representing Kerl, said Wednesday that his client had been in favor of the full disclosure of the bodycam footage. Earlier this week, he also called for its immediate release in court.
“The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department was the only party advocating for anything less than full disclosure,” Smith said in a statement.
He said Kerl opened fire because she wanted to protect the person who had been sitting inside the car when Franklin pulled “the gun out in the direction of the civilian.”
“The whole story cannot be told in either a two minute and 20 second video or the full 11 minute video,” Smith said.