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Minneapolis prosecutor eyes Terrence Franklin police killing

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AleLast month, in the weeks before the third anniversary of the killing of George Floyd, the Minneapolis City Council voted to solve two extra lawsuits Others were brought in by black people on whom former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt. The largest payout, $7.5 million, went to John Pope, who was 14 and in his bedroom in 2017 when Chauvin pressed his knee to the boy’s back and neck for 15 minutes. A magistrate took the unusual step of ordering body cameras footage made public, calling it “a foreshadowing of the same force later used” on Floyd.

The footage also showed the troubling command culture of the Minneapolis Police Department. After Chauvin has kept his knee on the Pope for more than 10 minutes, his sergeant walks in, sees what is happening, appears to ask if Chauvin needs a break, nods, and walks out. He goes away.

sergeant, lucas peterson, was until already Caused the death of a black suspect in a choke hold, and filed a false report In another case, it was claimed that a black woman had assaulted her partner. He was one of two officers who, four years earlier, shot and killed a 22-year-old black man named Terrence Franklin.

Read more: The Minneapolis police were acquitted in the murder of Terrence Franklin. Franklin’s family says a video proves he was hanged—and now the case may be reopened

But if the Franklin case escaped scrutiny at the time, many things changed after Chauvin killed Floyd. This past November, voters in Hennepin County, Minn., elected a chief prosecutor, Mary Moriarty, who campaigned on a promise to prosecute the police, and local police chiefs told TIME, specifically calling for Franklin’s death. .

“I remember he brought up one name, Terrence Franklin,” recalls Stephanie Revering, police chief in suburban Crystal, Minn., who hosted a meeting of the Hennepin County Chiefs of Police Association the week before the election. She didn’t get the scrutiny she deserved. She’ll open it again.

“I remember Mary raised some eyebrows, that she said something to the effect that this would be a specific case that she would look into,” says Daniel Wills, of The Rogers, Minn., who now heads the association. “The Terrence Franklin case, from the limited details I know, certainly has some loose ends attached to it.”

it happens. The May 10, 2013 shooting predates both body-worn cameras and smartphone video, and for years the public knew only the police-generated narrative. The details of that narrative would evolve (initially, the Minneapolis chief at the time claimed Franklin had been killed after a police dog attacked him), but it would always center around heroic cops confronting a young black man. which displayed the chilling manner of one. automaton—blank stare, impervious to pain—and Tom Cruise’s action-movie chops.

In the account the five officers involved provided (after being allowed to meet together), Franklin overpowered four SWAT officers and a German Shepard, then wounded two officers in a single motion, a pair of them in the back. Done and disposed of the third one. – Simultaneously with that third cop taking control of the strapped submachine gun, jamming his finger inside the trigger guard and pulling it once more, falling to the ground with the officer, still wearing the machine gun, a In a small cellar, in the dark. That’s when, police said, the burglary suspect was shot.

But Franklin’s family unearthed evidence they say supports their belief that the death of “Mookie,” as he was known, was an execution. Franklin was shot five times in the head. A ballistics report indicated that the two officers had pointed their guns to his head and fired simultaneously. The audio was captured by a passerby – and never closely examined by police or prosecutors – directly contradicting the officers’ contention that the shooting was in self-defense. Among the screams heard on the tape: “Come out little n—r! Don’t raise those hands up now!”

Speaking to Time on May 11, Terence’s father, Walter Franklin, said, “Those officers should get time.” “I hear it’s going, but it’s going slow. Tomorrow makes ten years.” Family attorney Mike Padden recently met with Moriarty, he said. A spokesman for Moriarty said the status of the case Will not comment on. Paddon was circumspect.

“All I can say is that we hope all five officers are prosecuted,” he told Time. “And I am reasonably confident that they will be prosecuted.” He declined to elaborate.

sea ​​change

The question is now a criminal one. On the eve of the hearing of the family’s wrongful death civil lawsuit—which the city had asked the US Supreme Court to stop—the Minneapolis City Council voted to settle in February 2020, paying $795,000. The council president at the time said, “I think our policy change in the police department, the change in leadership, has really created a scenario where this is unlikely to happen again.”

Three months later, Chauvin killed Floyd—promoting, among other things, a profound shift in public perceptions of police credibility. “These are people who up until four, five years ago expected that anything goddamn they said would be believed by a jury,” says Robert Bennett, who represented John Pope, the teen caught by Chauvin. were, and were, masters of police brutality. affairs. “Done. I have federal judges telling me. I have FBI agents telling me.

Pietersen’s career reflects that change. At the time of Franklin’s death, he was the subject of 13 complaints of excessive forceand the settlement cost $700,000, more than any other officer in the past seven years, star tribune informed of. But he was regarded as a “great artist” by a former police chief quoted by the newspaper, and was promoted to sergeant after Franklin’s death.

Read more: Prosecutors vow to re-examine the police killing of Terrence Franklin. Almost a year later, seeing little progress

Today, Peterson is no longer employed by the Minneapolis police, according to Joseph E. Flynn, his attorney in the Pope case. The circumstances of his departure are not public, and Bennett indicated to Time that the possibility of him having to do so during the legal proceedings was part of the reason the city settled. “That’s how you get seven and a half million dollars,” he said.

There is a lot of pressure on the agency. However, in 2021 Minneapolis voters rejected a vaguely worded proposal to replace the US Justice Department, Police Department Test “Unlawful policing” was announced the day after Chauvin’s sentencing. Many believe it will end up with the kind of court enforcement consent decree The MPD is already under the Minnesota Department of Human Rights through 2022. reports It is engaged in discriminatory policing. Meanwhile, the city appoints a new police chief to restore confidence in the department while addressing an increase in violent crime. Brian O’Hara, who arrived in November from Newark, NJ, has moved in to replace problematic supervisors.

Moriarty, a longtime public defender, rode a wave of insurrection at the prosecutor’s office. She was succeeded by Mike Freeman, the prosecutor who originally cleared the five officers present at Franklin’s 2013 death, and who has vowed to re-examine the case eight years later, after a one-time investigation by police. Falsehoods and contradictions came to the fore in K.’s account. but although his office was reported to be In conversation With at least two officers demanding immunity in exchange for testimony about the shooting, Freeman left office without taking action.

Moriarty had long been critical of Freeman for his handling of police shootings, and won easily over a stronger candidate, Barbara Holton Dimick, a black former judge and prosecutor. who insisted Increasing crime. Moriarty’s first five months in office have been rocky, But Rachel Moran, a St. Thomas University School of Law associate professor who specializes in police accountability, noted that the biggest controversy — the new prosecutor’s decision to reduce the penalties facing a pair of underage murder suspects To do this, citing, among other things, studies about brain development—consistent with the principles she followed.

Moran says, “I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but I think Mary is by now essentially living what she preached.” “If I had to guess, she’d see people [the Franklin case]But she knows she really, really wants to keep her ducks in a row.

“If she does it will be amazing,” says Ashley Martin, who earlier this month with her son Nehemiah marked the 10th anniversary of Terrence’s death by releasing balloons at a park. “I’m really worried about the result.”

They will return to the park with balloons again on May 30, Terrence’s birthday. He must have been 33.

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