An attorney representing the parents of Terrence T. Franklin said Thursday it would have been uncharacteristic of the man shot to death by police on May 10 in a south Minneapolis basement to grab for the weapon of officers who cornered him.
"The kid was not suicidal," said attorney Michael Padden, who said he was retained by Walter Franklin and Sheila O'Neal to find out whart happened in an incident about which police have released little information officially.
Padden said that if the police rule that Franklin was shot after a struggle for a submachine gun that allegedly wounded two officers, as police sources suggest, "This family will not accept that."
Walter Franklin said at the Minneapolis Urban League that his son "Mookie" was shot five times in the back of his head. The family viewed the slain man's body after an autopsy, for which a report said Franklin died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Franklin was considered a burglary suspect by police during a 90-minute chase and search in which police swarmed the Uptown area before he was located in a basement. He has a lengthy criminal record.
"Sometimes people flee for dumb reasons," Padden said, before Walter Franklin added, "He fleed because he was scared."
Padden said he doesn't fault Police Chief Janee Harteau for not releasing the results of the department's investigation until it's complete, but he does fault the department for delaying interviews with some participating officers. Franklin's family members were interviewed five hours after the incident, he said.
Padden said he's "pretty cynical" about the department's actions, given previous cases he's been involved with that have alleged police misconduct. He suggested that one alternative explanation for the injuries to officers who cornered Franklin in chaotic circumstances in the basement is that officers were injured by riocheted shots they fired.
He said he wants to meet with Harteau once the departmental investigation is finished, assuming ground rules can be agreed to. "I'm going to have a lot of questions to ask," he said. Among them is whether the dead man, who would have turned 23 Thursday, had bite marks on his body to substantiate the police story that a K-9 diog was attacking him before he allegedly broke free and struggled for a submachine gun.
Police sources have said that Franklin was shot by two officers in the basement after he grabbed an officer's submachine gun and fired shots that injured two officers. The gun was on single-shot mode.