Attorneys in the wrongful-death lawsuit resulting from the 2013 fatal Minneapolis police shooting of Terrance Franklin have reached a tentative out-of-court settlement, closing the book on a six-year-old legal dispute.
The terms of the agreement haven't yet been publicly disclosed. Any settlement amount must be signed off on by the City Council, which will discuss the matter at its meeting Friday, likely in a closed-door session.
Attorney Michael Padden, who filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of Franklin's family, declined to comment when reached on Thursday. City officials did not respond to a request for comment, and police spokesman John Elder also declined to discuss the case.
The 22-year-old Franklin was shot in the darkened basement of a South Side home on May 10, 2013, after a struggle with SWAT officers, who suspected he was involved in an earlier burglary. Two officers were also struck by gunfire during the altercation, but both survived.
A lawsuit filed by Franklin's father, Walter Louis Franklin, II, alleges that Franklin had already surrendered with both hands in the air when he was shot, but police and city officials maintain that he was shot after wresting control of an M5 rifle from an officer. The officers involved were cleared in an internal investigation, and a grand jury concluded there was insufficient evidence to prosecute them.
No independent witnesses saw the deadly confrontation. Franklin's family, friends and supporters, however, rejected the official police account of what happened and launched a public awareness campaign alleging that officers had no right to shoot Franklin, known to friends as "Mookie."
The suit — which names officers Lucas Peterson and Michael Meath, former Chief Janeé Harteau and the city of Minneapolis as defendants — seeks $1 million in damages.
In the years leading up to the potential settlement, the city's attorneys have argued that two questions raised in court — how much time elapsed between when the two officers were wounded and when Franklin was killed, and whether Franklin was holding the submachine gun at the time he was shot — are not relevant to determining whether a reasonable officer in the same circumstances would have considered him a "significant threat." The U.S. District Court, and later the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, disagreed with that argument, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the city's argument. The Supreme Court hears only about 80 cases a year.
If approved, the settlement to Franklin's family would be the latest paid by the city for a fatal police-involved shooting. In August, the city paid $200,000 to the family of Jamar Clark, who was killed in a November 2015 confrontation with two white police officers on the city's North Side, an incident that heightened racial tensions and prompted a weekslong encampment outside a nearby police station.
In June, the city approved a record $20 million settlement to the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who was killed in July 2017 by then-Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor. Noor, who was convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter, is now serving a prison sentence.