Activists demand the release of the full body cam video
A “full release” of police body camera video from the deadly police shooting of Danquirs Franklin in Charlotte is pending, with a court hearing scheduled for Tuesday, according to City Manager Marcus Jones.
The issue goes back to court next week after a story by The Charlotte Observer on Thursday revealed there is an additional portion of officer body camera footage that was not released to the public. In response, community activists on Thursday demanded that city officials immediately release the additional footage and explain why only a two minute, 20 second excerpt has been made public.
A longer video, approximately 11 minutes, was shown to City Council members on Monday, the Observer has reported. But that video has yet to be released, and two elected officials who have seen it — Dimple Ajmera and Braxton Winston — told the Observer they weren’t given any explanation or warning that the full video was not going to be released publicly.
City leaders are reviewing the way the release of body camera footage in this case was handled, an attorney for the city previously told the Observer. Jones on Thursday said CMPD’s process followed state law and was consistent with how the department has released video since 2016.
Laws about releasing police videos were rewritten in 2016, following the police killing of Charlotte’s Keith Lamont Scott.
Jones added that at Tuesday’s hearing, the police “will not be against the full release of the video.”
The city manager’s comments came as three activists in Charlotte met with him at the government center Thursday, demanding answers.
“We want full transparency — and I’m not sure we can wait until Tuesday,” said Corine Mack, president of the local NAACP. “They’re ready to pop off. People have been holding this situation together with tape. Not with glue, with tape.”
Mack also told Jones that she believes the police department could be in contempt of court after a judge’s order directed CMPD to release body camera footage requested by multiple Charlotte media outlets. In a motion filed Thursday, WBTV’s Nick Ochsner demanded a court hearing so CMPD Chief Kerr Putney can explain why he should not be held in contempt for violation of WBTV’s petition and Judge Donnie Hoover’s release order.
City Council member Ajmera said the city must release the additional video, for transparency’s sake, and that she does not know why only an excerpt has been made public. Ajmera says she expects the city manager to review what happened and she wants answers.
“We need to figure (that) out and we owe (the public) an answer to that,” Ajmera said in a phone interview Thursday with the Observer.
Ajmera and City Council member Winston both confirmed the additional footage is from police-worn body camera and shows conversations and police actions following the shooting. Ajmera declined to say specifically what new information might be seen or heard in the additional video but said it appears to be footage from Officer Wende Kerl’s body camera, just after she shot Danquirs Frankln.
Winston said he was troubled by the full footage in part because it does not show officers rendering medical aid to Franklin.