Crime & Courts

‘Danquirs should still be alive:’ Family of man killed by CMPD officer speaks out

Timeline of Beatties Ford Burger King shooting

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Wende Kerl shot and killed Danquirs Franklin at Burger King on Beatties Ford Road in March 2019.
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Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Wende Kerl shot and killed Danquirs Franklin at Burger King on Beatties Ford Road in March 2019.

The family of a man killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer in March believes investigators missed key pieces of information about the events before the shooting, the family’s lawyer Luke Largess said Wednesday.

Danquirs Franklin was shot and killed by CMPD officer Wende Kerl at a northwest Charlotte Burger King in March. Last week, the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office announced Kerl will not be charged in the case. An internal CMPD investigation into whether Kerl followed department policies and procedures is ongoing.

In a letter discussing the decision not to charge Kerl, District Attorney Spencer Merriweather wrote that Franklin had gone to the Burger King after getting upset that the mother of his children, a Burger King employee, had begun dating a coworker. Franklin had a gun and chased the male coworker around the restaurant, Merriweather wrote.

Speaking for Franklin’s family, Largess said the events of that morning need to be understood in context. The relationship between the mother of Franklin’s children and the male Burger King worker was an affair, Largess said. It upset Franklin so much that he had sought inpatient mental health treatment because he thought he might hurt himself, Largess aid.

Despite the affair, Franklin’s children and their mother were staying at Franklin’s house overnight while he worked a night shift, Largess told reporters.

“He found out the day of this incident, from one of his children, that the boyfriend — who was ruining his relationship with the mother of his children — had been in (Franklin’s) bed with (her) while he was at work,” Largess said. “And that so upset him that he went to the Burger King that day to find that man.”

Franklin pointed the gun at the man outside the restaurant, according to surveillance video screenshots released by the district attorney’s office. But the male coworker ran away and Franklin didn’t fire the gun, Largess said.

Franklin went from being angry to being upset, Largess said. The Burger King general manager was trying to comfort him and pray with him when police arrived and ordered him to drop the gun, Largess said.

“Sadly, the only way that he could drop the weapon was to reach into his pocket and pull it out,” he said.

Largess said Franklin can be seen holding the gun gingerly, with the barrel pointed toward himself, just before Kerl shot him. Franklin was following the officers’ commands when he was killed, Largess said.

GRAPHIC CONTENT: Watch the full body camera of Officer Wende Kerl who shot and killed Danquirs Franklin at Burger King on Beatties Ford Road on March 25, 2019.

Franklin’s family and friends have not wanted to stir up community outrage, Largess said, but the past several months have been hard for them. They want people to know the full story of that day, he said.

“I don’t know that they particularly want to see the officer punished in some way, but just (for) the department to understand and address that this situation should not have unfolded as it did,” Largess said.

Franklin’s family have not yet decided whether to pursue a civil lawsuit, Largess said. They’re interested in learning the outcome of CMPD’s internal investigation, he said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney talks to the media after release of body cam video in the Danquirs Franklin case. Putney also addressed how police are trained, as well as what the public should do during an encounter with police.

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