CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The family of Danquirs Franklin has released a statement a week after the District Attorney announced Wende Kerl, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer who shot and killed Franklin back in March, will not face charges in connection with the shooting.
A lawyer for the family of Franklin released a statement Wednesday that said in part, Franklin "should be alive today."
"As those who knew him well, we were disappointed by the District Attorney’s assessment of the circumstances of his death, and utterly dismayed at the way in which Danquirs Franklin has been portrayed," the statement read.
According to the family, the situation at the Burger King had already 'calmed' by the time police arrived. Friends and family said Franklin had put the gun away, and his hands were clasped in prayer with the store manager whom he had just tearfully embraced before police arrived.
The statement went on to say Franklin was shot because he followed CMPD's repeated instructions to reach into his pocket and retrieve the gun and drop it to the ground.
"He was shot for doing what he was told to do," the statement said.
District Attorney Spencer Merriweather released the findings of his department's investigation into the shooting and said the state "could not prove to a jury that Officer Kerl's perception that the presence, motion, and position of the gun posed an imminent threat to her, Officer Deal, and T.G. was unreasonable beyond a reasonable doubt."
Kerl shot Danquirs Franklin outside the Burger King on Beatties Ford Road on March 25. Kerl ordered Franklin to drop his weapon multiple times before opening fire when she perceived a threat. CMPD released the body camera footage to the public in April amid mounting pressure from the Charlotte community.
WARNING: The following is body camera video released by CMPD. The video shows graphic images of Danquirs Franklin crime scene. Viewer discretion is advised.
Family and friends said Franklin was a hard-working devoted father of three children. According to the statement, the mother of his children worked at the Burger King, where he was shot, and frequently took the children there and knew the manager and other employees.
According to family, the shooting at the Burger King occurred when Franklin learned the mother of his three children had left him for an affair with a co-worker.
"Danquirs was so despondent at her actions that he had sought inpatient medical care," the statement read.
The statement went on to read that on the day of the shooting, Franklin learned from one of his children that the co-worker had come to the house with the mother while he was at work and was sleeping with her in his bed.
"Learning of that betrayal is what set him off; he went to find the co-worker at the Burger King," family and friends said.
Family members said Franklin would never hurt anyone in his life. According to the written statement, Franklin brandished the weapon inside the Burger King restaurant but never actually pulled the trigger.
When the man who had been in his bed ran from the Burger King, family members said Franklin put the gun away and his demeanor changed.
"He walked over to the car of the store manager who had just arrived and they embraced. Danquirs cried as they hugged and then knelt by the side of the car, his hands clasped in prayer with the manager, who is also a minister," the statement read.
According to family members, the mother of his children also walked up close to them as they prayed.
"She had seen Danquirs put away the gun and knew she was not threatened," family members said.
When police arrived they drew their weapons and ordered the mother to move away.
"The audio from the body camera makes clear that both officers repeatedly told Danquirs to “drop the weapon.” They did not order him to show or raise his hands," the statement said.
D.A. Merriweather wrote the following in his findings:
"Regardless of the direction the firearm was actually pointing, the law affords an officer the right to protect his life and the lives of others by acting on her reasonable perception of the threat confronting her. The decedent did not have a criminal record of violence, but Officer Kerl, responding to two calls regarding a subject brandishing a gun, did not know that information.
The law did not require Officer Kerl to wait until the firearm was pointed at her before defending herself. If an officer responding to an active crime scene waits until a firearm is pointed at her before engaging, it will likely leave that officer with no time to successfully stop a potentially deadly attack on herself or others, even if the officer is pointing her gun at an armed assailant at the time. Therefore, it can be lawful for an officer to take lethal action before it is too late to repel a deadly attack.
Specifically, reaction-time studies dealing with police shootings have concluded that an armed person is an extreme danger to an officer whether or not the person is pointing the gun at the officer.93 One study’s results showed that “even well-trained officers, who are operating in nearly ideal circumstances, with their guns aimed at a suspect, cannot reasonably be expected to shoot before the suspect raises his or her gun and fires.”
Given the circumstances present, combined with speed with which the events unfolded, the State could not prove to a jury that Officer Kerl’s perception that the presence, motion, and position of the gun posed an imminent threat to her, Officer Deal, and T.G. was unreasonable beyond a reasonable doubt."