By Mel Reeves
The Star Tribune headlines read “New DNA evidence in Franklin case” and “Terrance Franklin DNA tied to gun.” The headlines referenced a press conference held by Minneapolis police last week revealing supposed new evidence that a neighbor near where Franklin was killed found a gun that supposedly had been in Franklin’s possession on the day he was killed by police.
According to the police, the gun was in a sock, and Terrance’s DNA was on the sock. However, Terrance’s DNA was not on the gun, nor were fingerprints found on the gun.
So police appear to be saying now that Franklin had a gun when he was pursued by police but stashed it up the block before hiding in the house where he met his demise. However, the police said in the press conference that this is not the conclusion they are drawing.
They said they don’t know when he had the gun. In fact, during the press conference police said this new discovery had no bearing on the shooting of Terrance Franklin, who was killed by Minneapolis police on May 10, 2013.
Deputy Minneapolis Police Chief Kris Arneson refused to say whether the sock and gun were proof that Franklin was armed on the day he was shot. According to police, the homeowner found the rusted gun under his house in October. The rusted gun appeared to have been in the elements much longer, as if it had been outside all winter.
So what was the purpose of the press conference? It appears that the Strib headlines are what they were after. Those headlines play into the hands of the Minneapolis police’s not-so-thinly-veiled effort to continue to smear and damage the character of Franklin, who they already killed.
Clearly, if one only reads the headlines you would take away the idea that the case is open and shut, there is clear DNA evidence, and Franklin had a gun when police killed him.
Most readers know the story, so I won’t go into all the ugly details. But the gist is that the police say that while attempting to apprehend Franklin he somehow grabbed one of their submachine guns, put it in single-shot mode and shot two officers in the leg while cornered in a South Minneapolis basement. Police responded by shooting him in the back of the head five times and in the back and shoulder another five times.
On the same day another young man, a Hispanic brother, was run over by police while supposedly going to the scene of Franklin’s killing.
If things happened as the cops say they did, then why do they continue to disparage Franklin? The boy is dead — can’t he rest?
As the saying goes, “Me thinks they dost protest too much.” The police conducted its own investigation, prepared the evidence themselves, and were able to present it to the grand jury favorable to them. And the police were found to be not guilty of wrongdoing. They even got one of the media outlets to call Franklin a career criminal, though it wasn’t true. So what else could they possibly want?
What could be gained by sullying the character of someone long dead at your hands? I suspect that they know that their story may not hold up under real scrutiny, because if anyone reads their story it is an incredible tale that only a small child could appreciate. They still never clearly explained how he was shot in the back of the head. They couldn’t even agree on how many times they shot him — initially their numbers didn’t match the autopsy report.
And so the police are trying to muddy the water and thereby prejudice a potential jury pool by continuing these attacks on Franklin’s character. If that is the case, have the Minneapolis City Attorney settle with Franklin’s estate and let the boy rest! Enough is enough!
Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.