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Was Charlotte Officers’ Fatal Shooting of Man Justified?

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It could be months before authorities decide whether to charge officers involved in a deadly shooting at a Charlotte restaurant. Several use-of-force experts told the Charlotte Observer that the available facts suggest the shooting was justified. Still, several raised questions about whether police officers could have taken steps to avert bloodshed on March 25, the day 0fficer Wende Kerl killed Danquirs Franklin in the parking lot of a Burger King. Franklin, 27, had a gun when he was shot. Kerl and another officer told Franklin to put the gun down more than 15 times in the 40 seconds before the shooting.

Then, Franklin reached his right hand toward a pocket and pulled out a gun by the barrel. He did not appear to be pointing the gun in the moment before he was shot; instead, he appeared to be lowering it toward the ground, showed video released by the police department. Some community activists believe the evidence shows that, in the moment before he was shot, Franklin was trying to comply with the police command to drop his gun. Seth Stoughton, a former police officer now teaching at the University of South Carolina School of Law, believes the video “raises some serious questions about the officers’ tactics.” Eugene O’Donnell, a former police officer now on the faculty of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the officer who fired was in a “totally exposed” position. He said the officers might not have felt they had the luxury of taking cover because there was an imminent danger to others.

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