In the matter of Terrance Franklin’s death by police

Five-year legal battle drawing to an end

As this is written on April 2, 2018, it is 10 days prior to when the City of Minneapolis will meet in the Federal Court building with attorneys for the Terrance Franklin family for a settlement conference in the civil suit filed by the family regarding Terrance Franklin’s shooting death by police on May 10, 2013.

In 2013, my columns covered that tragic case on May 22 and 29 and June 12 and 19. Those columns raised over 40 questions; many are still unanswered.

Federal courts use the settlement conference to reach agreements prior to trial as to what will be considered fair. It has not been that simple for the Franklin family. Behind the scenes, citizens and taxpayers of Minneapolis are not being told about the pitched battle running five long years. The Franklin family has sought justice, as the City of Minneapolis has fought that at every turn.

On November 10, 2016, Judge Donovan Frank handed down a final ruling that the case must go to trial. But the City keeps appealing.

The City of Minneapolis lost to a three-member panel of the 8th circuit court of appeals.  Later, the City appealed to the entire nine-member panel and lost again. The City of Minneapolis has appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which has taken it under advisement and will make its determination before the current session recesses.

Much of the information contained in the briefs and motions filed on behalf of the Franklin family has been suppressed by the local media and other supporters of the City of Minneapolis, despite the many issues raised by the attorneys for the Franklin family regarding the chilling events leading to Franklin’s death. Franklin was shot 10 times along his right side, including his armpit, indicating his arms were raised.

The City attorneys and the local media should be embarrassed by what they have suppressed. They know few will exercise their lawful right to review documents that have been filed by all parties in the case of Franklin’s execution.

Review the statements Judge Frank issued on December 10, 2016, and the statements of the City of Minneapolis on December 7, 2016. Depositions should also be reviewed by police officers and others who were in that basement when Franklin was killed.

It is a sad commentary that the City in response to the Franklin execution would be so dishonest, issuing so many false statements to cover up the acts of brutality against this young, unarmed Black man. How will the United States Supreme Court ruling determine how much evidence can be suppressed by the City of Minneapolis?

If the Supreme Court does not rule on this matter, the case will be returned to the trial judge, Donovan Frank, who stated on November 10, 2016, that this case must go to trial.

Read our earlier four columns on Terrance Franklin on our website archive:

April 4, 2018, was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death. In his daughter’s words, he was “the apostle of nonviolence.” What he considered to be the center of any solution is the same today: character and non-violence. What he said then is the same today “in spite of a decade of significant progress, the problem is far from solved.”

Stay tuned.


Ron is an author and host of radio and TV shows.