The male officer shouts to Franklin: “Sir, put the gun down.” Kerl yells, “Put the gun down!”
The last command Kerl yells before firing is, “Put it on the ground!”
Franklin reached his right hand toward a pocket and pulled out a gun by the barrel. He appeared to be lowering the weapon when Kerl fired two shots, the video shows.
Moments after being shot, Franklin turns his face toward the officers and can be heard saying: “You told me to…”
The video cuts off seconds later, after he slumps over.
…“There is no way” the shooting was justified, she said. “He was sitting there in the most non-threatening way possible. His two choices were get killed for complying with them or get killed for not complying. He was going to get killed no matter what.”
…“In hindsight, the officers probably could have said, ‘Put your hands up. Don’t move. Don’t reach toward the gun. And if you move toward your gun, we’ll shoot you.’ ”
Seth Stoughton, a former police officer and professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, said he believes the video “raises some serious questions about the officers’ tactics.
“In this case, one of the officers was standing less than a car-length away from an armed subject with nothing but air between them for more than 30 seconds,” he wrote in an email to the Observer. “If, for example, the officers had taken positions of relative safety, they might have been more comfortable waiting to see if Mr. Franklin was going to put the gun on the ground the way that they had commanded him to, rather than shooting him at the moment they did.”
Fuck, “objectively reasonable” excuses.
If an officer cannot keep their head under stress and make split second assessments (like, is he putting the gun down?) and then act on them (like, maybe I shouldn’t shoot him because he is not a threat and it would be murder to do so) then they have no business in that line of work. Period. It’s too dangerous for them and everyone around them.