A federal judge on Friday threw out the lawsuit filed by the family of Danquirs Franklin, who was fatally shot outside a Burger King in 2019 by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Wende Kerl.
Franklin’s mother, Deborah Franklin, filed suit against Kerl and the City of Charlotte in 2020, claiming excessive force and constitutional violations. The complaint singled out Kerl, accusing the veteran patrol officer of panicking, unnecessarily escalating the confrontation, then shooting Franklin twice as he appeared on police video to be complying with police orders to put his gun on the ground, the Charlotte Observer reports.
In his ruling, Senior U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen said Kerl probably made errors on the day of the shooting. But under the law, he said, they were reasonable ones, making her immune to the claims in the lawsuit.
“Given the gift of hindsight, it seems likely that Officer Kerl made a mistake in shooting Danquirs Franklin,” Mullen wrote.
“Franklin appeared to be complying with the CMPD officers’ orders to ‘drop the gun’ when he took the pistol out of his jacket pocket. Video shows that he was holding the slide of the pistol, not the grip. And Franklin’s incredulous last words — ‘You told me to’— seem to confirm his intentions nearly beyond doubt.
“But because a court must not judge with the ‘20/20 vision of hindsight,’ the question is whether Officer Kerl’s mistake in shooting Franklin was reasonable. The answer is yes.”
The deadly confrontation on March 25, 2019, arose from Franklin going to a Burger King that morning as he searched for the new boyfriend of the mother of his children, who worked with her at the restaurant. He brandished a gun, chased the boyfriend, and pushed the girlfriend to the floor. Police were called and the incident ended in a fatal shooting.