There is widespread skepticism of the police version of the shooting among working people here. Weeks after Franklin was fatally shot May 10, police officials and the county attorney have released only a few sketchy details from their investigation into the killing.
Three members of the Minneapolis police SWAT team shot Franklin to death after they cornered him in the basement of a house in a working-class neighborhood of south Minneapolis. The police account only says Franklin was hit with “multiple gunshots.” Terrance Franklin’s father Walter Franklin and others who have seen the body say cops shot him five times in the back of the head and twice in the back.
Cops say they sought to arrest Franklin, who was unarmed, on a burglary charge. They claim that after they chased Franklin he attacked the cops, wresting a pistol from one and shooting two in the leg. According to the cop version of events, a third officer shot Franklin.
“Every time the story came on the news the police account changed,” Emma Mercer said at the June 13 rally. Mercer is one of seven friends of Franklin who initiated the first action with the Franklin family. “We want the police prosecuted and we won’t stop until that happens.”
“There were no bullets to the front of Terrance. How does that square with the cops’ story?” Walter Franklin told the Militant. “That pattern of gunshots is in line with an execution. When I arrived at the scene I asked to identify the body. They wouldn’t let me see him. I never saw the body until the day of the funeral, weeks later.”
“There are so many questions about the cops’ story,” James Walton, Terrance Franklin’s uncle, told the Militant. “If Terrance had no weapon, why would he resist? Why wouldn’t the cops shoot to wound, not shoot to kill? The SWAT teams are supposed to initiate a peaceful solution if possible. The cops could have done a number of things short of going in and killing him.”
Police officials publicly claim that in the wake of the killing they offered to meet with Franklin’s family. But Walter Franklin said he was never contacted.
Disbelief also surrounds the official police account of the killing of Ivan Romero, a 24-year-old bakery worker whose motorcycle collided with a police car driving through a red light to the scene of the Franklin shooting a half hour after Franklin was killed. According to the local media, a number of witnesses say the police car was speeding. The police deny this.
One cop, who allegedly was shot in the leg by Franklin, was released from the hospital three days later. It wasn’t until weeks after his release that police investigators interviewed him about the incident.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune has published an editorial on “the lack of transparency by the police.” Police chief Janeé Harteau had recently been making numerous public speeches touting “transparency” as a top priority.
Those active in the fight to prosecute the cops have formed the Justice for Terrance Franklin Committee. Their next march will take place June 28 in north Minneapolis.
“Continuing the demonstrations is the only way to force the authorities to prosecute the police,” said Walter Franklin.
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