CMPD Revises Former “Use of Force” Policy Amid Criticism Over Deadly Police Shootings

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – CMPD is emphasizing de-escalation and the value of human life as it scraps its old “Use of Force” policy. It’s now called the “Response to Resistance” policy.

The change comes after criticism over high-profile, deadly police shootings in Charlotte and has been in the works for 18 months.

Some things won’t change, including how an officer can react if they sense an imminent, deadly threat.

Chief Kerr Putney says the revised policy places an emphasis on the sanctity of life. It includes much of what was there before, but with input from some of the groups most critical of CMPD.

“And I think that makes this policy even better,” Putney said during a news conference on Wednesday.

For the first time, it outlines de-escalation as, “Tactics… to reduce the imminence of a physical threat to officers or others.”

The policy also better outlines what officers need to do in tense situations, emphasizing tactics like verbal warnings, dialogue, and commands.

The goal is to not reach the point where deadly force is necessary.

Putney says he wants his officers not to act as warriors, but as guardians with a warrior’s spirit.

Once deadly force is necessary, Putney says the policy stays the same.

“The split-second decision that a reasonable officer has to make, this policy is not going to change that. This is the law and that remains,” Putney said.

Critics are concerned about deadly shootings like that of Danquirs Franklin. CMPD officer Wende Kerl repeatedly yelled at him to drop his gun in a Burger King parking lot in March, then shot him when he moved the gun.

“This is a stepping stone. This is not the be all, end all fix,” says Darrell Gregory, with the Charlotte-Meckenburg NAACP.

The group is one of several that had input in the policy.

“It’s one thing to put it on paper. And then it’s something else to respond to a call for service. I’m hoping these officers take it to heart,” Gregory says.

Putney says the policy is a living, breathing document and will continue to change.

“I wish I could tell you we got it perfect this time, I’m sure we did not,” Putney said.