CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte leaders are once again calling for calm as Chief Kerr Putney prepared to answer questions from the community.
On Tuesday night, people started filling up the room where a community meeting took place. It was the second time that Chief Putney addressed the community since Monday’s release of the body cam footage from last month's deadly officer-involved shooting.
One of the biggest questions going into the meeting -- why was only one body camera on and working during the shooting?
The NBC Charlotte Defenders team has been investigating issues with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department’s body cameras since last year.
Data NBC Charlotte uncovered shows malfunctions in nearly 300 of the department’s cameras.
Chief Putney did not go into details about why the other body camera did not have video, but he said if an officer does not turn a body a camera on, that’s a serious violation of policy.
On Tuesday morning, Chief Putney reacted to the body camera video that was released to the public. The video shows the moments before an officer shot and killed Danquirs Franklin.
“This is one of the most troubling videos I've seen,” Chief Putney said.
The chief also said it’s part of the process for police to be judged when there’s an officer-involved shooting.
“The criticism and scrutiny is absolutely justified,” Chief Putney said.
It raises the question about why there isn't body camera video available from another officer on scene. At this point in the investigation, Chief Putney is not saying whether the other camera malfunctioned or the officer did not turn it on.
“What I can tell you is one body camera was working,” Chief Putney said.
While the exact issue is not clear right now, an NBC Charlotte Defenders investigation shed light on previous problems with the body cameras at CMPD.
In May 2018, NBC Charlotte reported nearly one in ten body cameras had malfunctioned over the two previous years. That’s about 270 of the department’s roughly 3,000 cameras at the time. Data shows it was mostly battery related issues responsible for the malfunctions.
“When we don't have that footage, it brings the question can we truly trust CMPD?,” Corine Mack, the local NAACP President, previously told NBC Charlotte.
For Meko McCarthy, it’s an emotional issue. Her son, Lareko Williams, died after a police taser incident back in 2011. At the time, CMPD did not have body cameras.
“Then to have to rely on the entity itself that has stolen that life from you to tell you a story that in your heart doesn't sit right,” McCarthy previously told NBC Charlotte.
In response to the Defenders investigation, CMPD sent a written statement saying all the malfunctions were caught before the body cameras were ever deployed. The statement also said the body cameras are sent back to the manufacturer and replaced free of charge.
Chief Putney says they are now looking into why an officer’s body camera would not have video of the officer-involved shooting.
“If you don't have your body worn camera on, that's a violation of policy and a serious violation,” Chief Putney said.
Chief Putney said that questions about the body camera are part of the internal investigation and that’s why he could not comment any further at this point.
Related stories on WCNC:
- Community responds after body-cam video released from officer-involved shooting
- TIMELINE: Events leading up to deadly police shooting at Burger King
- Mayor calls for Charlotte to 'come together respectfully' before release of body cam of deadly police shooting
- Putney: Deadly shooting 'one of the most troubling videos I've seen'
- Judge orders CMPD to release body cam video of officer-involved shooting