Police review board would restrict use of lethal force by officers

Charlotte’s Citizens Review Board Chair says, “Drawing a weapon should be an exception for CPMD officers, not the rule.”

CMPD-bodycam-Danquirs-Franklin

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police released body camera video capturing the March 25 officer-involved shooting resulting in the death of Danquirs Franklin.

When should a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer use deadly force? At the invitation of Chief Kerr Putney, Charlotte’s Citizens Review Board has been pondering that question.

The board met yesterday to finalize its work, and later this month members will present a set of recommendations to CMPD’s leadership.

Henry Black, who chairs the board, said the recommendations would add “sweeping restrictions and limitations” to CMPD’s use-of-force policy and would require “significant de-escalation efforts” before an office is deemed justified to use lethal force.

“Drawing a weapon should be an exception for CPMD officers, not the rule,” Black said during the meeting.

For now, just recommendations: CMPD is under no obligation to accept the recommendations, and review board has no power to impose change.

Among the proposed revisions, officers would be required to document every instance in which a service weapon is pointed at a suspect, regardless of whether it’s discharged.

Gabriel Wright, an attorney who consults with the board, said the recommendations were modeled after policies in cities such as Sacramento and Seattle.

Why it matters: The board’s work comes at a time when CMPD has faced renewed scrutiny over the use of deadly force by its officers — most recently in March, when a CMPD officer shot and killed 27-year-old Danquirs Franklin outside a Burger King restaurant on Beatties Ford Road.

Black, the review board’s chair, said members want to send a message.

“People don’t necessarily feel their voices are being heard,” he said after the meeting. “It’s so important that we make it very clear that not only are we open to change, but we are listening to the concerns and fears of residents.”

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in our Morning Brew newsletter. See what else you might have missed, then sign up to get Morning Brew delivered to your inbox.


Olivia Richard, a Los Angeles native, is on assignment with Qcitymetro through the Report for America program. While in Charlotte, she will focus on local government, affordable housing and how they impact the city’s black community. Email: orichard@qcitymetro.com.

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