The Star Tribune’s headline of May 18, 2013: “Sources: Burglary suspect fired shots that injured Minneapolis Officers.” What about the shots that killed the “suspect,” Terrance Terrill Franklin? Why, when surrounded by five SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) officers and a K-9 unit dog, was he not tasered instead?
How could he so easily wound two Minneapolis police officers with one of their own guns? I’m as puzzled as others, and, like them, raise obvious questions the Star Tribune does not raise or address. We wonder who “the sources” are for the Star Tribune.
The Chanen-McKinney story suggests a fierce, intense and deadly confrontation in the basement of the house at 2717 Bryant Avenue South. Really? A careful reading suggests a different interpretation of the evidence: that the confrontation was very one-sided and brutal, continuing to add more serious questions.
The questions I raised in last week’s column (“Terrance Terrell Franklin’s police-shooting death: Many questions remain unanswered.”) continue to go unanswered (note that this column is written eight days before publication). Franklin was surrounded by five officers, beaten and punched with flashlights after being weakened by a vicious attack by the K-9. Then shot and killed. “Multiple” shots. Why?
The Star Tribune story has the K-9 released by his handler. The dog then reportedly ran into the basement and confronted and attacked Mr. Franklin, who, to get away from the dog, went behind a water heater. There the unleashed dog clamped his jaws on him and dragged him out from behind the water heater. While in the grip of the dog, he attacked five officers. Really? The article says Mr. Franklin stood up. That means he was on the floor where the dog could deliver bites and wounds to his face, shoulder, and upper body, not just his leg.
After Mr. Franklin stood up, the Star Tribune says the K-9 handler allegedly shouted for Mr. Franklin to get his hands up. And then the Star Tribune story makes this interesting statement: The K-9 handler thought the situation was nearly under control. Really? Very puzzling. Doesn’t policy state that the only time a situation is under control is when a suspect is either handcuffed or incapacitated, such as being knocked unconscious?
The Star Tribune story states that officer Mark Durant stepped in, that Mr. Franklin broke away and charged the officer, wrestling his MP5 submachine gun pistol away from him, and that Officer Durant struggled to hold the weapon down but Franklin was able to point it up and fire twice. As both officers were shot in their lower leg, Mr. Franklin would have had to be lying on the floor to point up and still only shoot the officers below their knees.
At that point, state Star Tribune sources, Officer Peterson stepped in as Franklin was holding the pistol pointed at Officer Durant. Even if we assume that the two officers were each shot in a leg, that still left three highly trained, well-conditioned police officers on their feet, at which time, according to witnesses, Mr. Peterson did not taser Mr. Franklin but, instead, pulled out his side arm and shot Mr. Franklin dead. Why?
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner stated Mr. Franklin had been shot multiple times. Why?
Very puzzling: five officers chasing one guy, and yet only one shooter? Really? When will we learn how many shots? Why is there a huge hole in Mr. Franklin’s face, with half his face missing? The paper said one shot. One shot to do all that? Really?
The MPD says it will it take at least eight weeks before the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) returns information on the forensics examination on the gun, including blood and urine samples of those involved. Yet none of the five police officers in the basement were required to give samples of blood and urine. This raises questions of credibility relevant to the investigation.
The sources available to the Star Tribune gave the paper the password used by the police department investigators. Really? Why? To enable a better cover up? Does the police department’s left hand know what the right hand is doing? Does either hand trust the other?
I’m sure that Chief Harteau now recognizes she is not only being undermined by her own department in this tragedy. The situation is compounded by politics being played out among other law enforcement entities in Hennepin County. They’ll get the big dollars in fighting crime if they can get involved. In some locales in Minnesota, some jurisdictions want to control their entire county.
Chief: You figure it out, but I think you already know.
We seek answers to questions to enable providing the truth and justice about the death of T.T. Franklin for his family. In the Black community we say, “God help us and guide us.”
What will White officers do to bring balance back to the force? Won’t public trust in public safety responders continue to erode when such travesties of justice are allowed to go unchallenged?
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocar chives.htm.