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Family of Terrance Franklin Files Excessive Force Lawsuit Against Mpls. Police

Updated: 05/09/2014 1:16 PM
Created: 05/08/2014 1:46 PM KSTP.com
By: Stephen Tellier

The attorney representing Terrance Franklin's father has filed an excessive force and negligence lawsuit against the Minneapolis Police Department.

Officers shot 22-year-old Franklin to death on May 10, 2013, after a chase that ended in the basement of an Uptown home.

A grand jury cleared the officers of any wrongdoing.

The attorney filed the lawsuit Friday, one day before the one-year anniversary of Franklin's death.

"The evidence makes it clear that this was a wrongful killing," said Mike Padden, the attorney representing Franklin's father.

The chase began as a report of a burglary suspect. Police say Franklin fled a traffic stop and broke into a home on Bryant Avenue, where he struggled with officers and a police dog in a cluttered basement of the home. Police said Franklin grabbed one of the officer's guns and shot the officers. Two officers then returned fire, hitting Franklin eight times in the head, neck and torso. Franklin was killed, and officers Ricardo Muro and Michael Meath were hit with gunfire. Both officers survived.

The lawsuit claims that Franklin's killing should not have happened, and was "entirely foreseeable," and states Franklin "presented no threat to the SWAT Team since he had been successfully apprehended, clearly had surrendered, had both of his hands in the air at the moment he was killed in a surrender position, and was unarmed, but was killed, nonetheless, in an execution-type fashion."

The lawsuit claims the two officers were shot as a result of an "accidental discharge" from one of the officer's firearms, and that two officers shot Franklin multiple times out of anger.

"This was a completely botched investigation. Why? Because there was a conflict of interest. This is the kind of case that you have to have an outside entity do the investigation," Padden said.

"I think these are lies," said John Delmonico, president of the Minneapolis police officers' union.

He said the lawsuit gets the case completely backwards.

"Terrance Franklin was not the victim. He was the criminal," Delmonico said.

Police said the two officers shot Franklin because they feared for their lives. An internal investigation found Franklin's DNA on the trigger of the gun that shot the two officers.  

"He chose to break into the house. He chose to run from the cops. He chose to do what he did that day. So he is responsible for the consequences that happened to him that day," Delmonico said.

Minneapolis Police Department Chief Janee Harteau has previously said that, in her mind, there is no doubt the police investigation of the incident was accurate, and paints a picture that Franklin's actions led to his own death.

Harteau released a statement on Thursday, saying, "We have provided extensive documentation, evidence, and explanation of the officers’ actions at our press conference on September 19, 2013 regarding the events of May 10, 2013.  I continue to fully support the actions of my officers and agree with the decision of the Grand Jury."

Terrance Franklin Lawsuit


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