Minneapolis City Council agrees to $795K settlement over shooting death of Terrance Franklin
"Shots fired! Officer down, officer down!"
That urgent radio message was broadcast to Minneapolis Police units on May 10, 2013.
A shooting inside a darkened, cluttered basement of a Bryant Avenue home in Uptown.
Terrance Franklin, 22, was later found shot to death by police gunfire, and two officers were wounded.
"The facts of this case are not good, they're bad," said attorney Mike Padden.
On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council approved a $795,000 settlement, nearly five years after a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Franklin's family.
"The events of the day in 2013 when two officers were shot and Mr. Franklin was killed were a tragedy and this settlement does not change that," says a statement by City Council President Lisa Bende. "After many years of extended litigation, I hope this allows everyone to have some resolution to move forward."
Padden, who represents the Franklin family, said they are pleased that the long-standing legal battle is over.
"I can tell you if the case didn't settle, we were very ready and willing to go to trial if need be," he declares. "We felt good about our evidence."
It all began as a police chase.
Authorities said Franklin had fled a traffic stop and broke into the home.
Investigators said during a struggle with officers, he grabbed one of their guns and shot both men.
According to the police narrative, officers returned fire, hitting Franklin eight times, in the head, neck and body, killing him.
But Padden said it didn't happen that way.
"The contention that this young man grabbed a gun and shot two police officers was something that we vehemently opposed, from practically the beginning, once we had the evidence," he said.
The officers survived their wounds and were later cleared by a Grand Jury.
But a year after the shooting, Padden filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
That legal action said Franklin posed no threat to responding SWAT officers because he had been already apprehended.
The lawsuit also stated Franklin's hands were in the air, in a surrender position, when he was shot and killed.
"Was this a shooting in anger, do you think? By those two officers?" Padden was asked. "Absolutely," he said.
The lawsuit claims the two officers were shot as a result of an 'accidental discharge' from one of their guns.
Padden asserts there was more to the story.
"There was a presumption, an inaccurate presumption, that Franklin had attempted to run over a police officer with the initial attempted apprehension at an apartment building. That was not true," he said.
Still, the union representing Minneapolis Police officers said it's outraged by the council's decision to settle.
Lieutenant Bob Kroll, the president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, issued a statement, which said in part:
"This shows the lack of support and compassion the City Council has regarding crime in this great city, the victims it leaves in its wake, and the care and well-being of our officers. It is a slap in the face of justice."
Bende notes there have been changes in MPD policies and practices in the last six years, including the use of body-worn cameras.
But she said use-of-force laws have not changed.
Bende also said the council is working to "support all our officers … and to ensure that MPD continues to respond to demands for change, so this never happens again."
Padden said the decision to settle means closure for the Franklin family.
"They're happy there's closure and it's done. They can move on with their lives. It's a long process," he said.