A lawsuit to be filed Friday alleges that Terrance Franklin had surrendered with his hands in the air when he was shot by Minneapolis police in the basement of a south Minneapolis home last year.
The suit filed on behalf of Franklin’s family comes nearly one year to the day since dozens of Minneapolis police officers pursued Franklin through a dense Uptown neighborhood for 90 minutes after an apartment building manager called 911 to report a burglary suspect, Franklin, on his property.
In the struggle to apprehend Franklin, two SWAT officers were injured with gunshot wounds to the legs. A police cruiser responding to the scene collided with a motorcycle, killing its driver and injuring his passenger.
The case rocked the Police Department’s relations with the city’s black community and proved to be a test of newly installed Chief Janeé Harteau.
Franklin’s death set off protests by his family, friends and supporters, but a police investigation found that Franklin charged at officers and shot two of them with one of the officer’s guns during a struggle.
Attorney Mike Padden said he’s filing the suit Friday in U.S. District Court on behalf of Franklin’s father, Walter Louis Franklin II. It seeks damages in excess of $1 million for excessive force, unreasonable search and seizure and wrongful death. It names officers Lucas Peterson, Michael Meath, Harteau and the city of Minneapolis.
A grand jury heard two days of testimony before clearing the officers; Harteau held a news conference hours after the grand jury’s decision was released, saying it was Franklin’s actions that dictated the outcome of the day.
“We have provided extensive documentation, evidence, and explanation of the officers’ actions at our news conference on September 19, 2013, regarding the events of May 10, 2013,” Harteau said in a statement Thursday. “I continue to fully support the actions of my officers and agree with the decision of the grand jury.”
After seeing a copy of the lawsuit, Police Union President John Delmonico called the allegations in the lawsuit lies.
“Anybody can say whatever they want. The truth will come out,” he said. “Terrance Franklin was a criminal and these cops were heroes. It’s sad somebody will stoop this low to try to make their point.”
The lawsuit says six SWAT officers apprehended a compliant Franklin in the basement, but while doing so an officer’s MP5 went off in an “accidental discharge,” injuring two officers in the legs. Franklin was shot in “execution-type fashion” minutes later, the suit says.
Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747