Terrance Terrell Franklin died at the hands of the Minneapolis police in the basement of a home at 2717 Bryant Avenue South, Minneapolis at approximately 3:30 pm, Friday, May 10. Questions are being asked about the circumstances of his death and the pitched battle alleged in different police versions, including hand-to-hand combat with a K-9 and then with five highly trained officers of a SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team.
We raise these questions on May 13 — four days after the shooting — that we hope will eventually be raised by other media:
• What were the real reasons that Mr. Franklin was stopped and questioned after he hit the rear of Squad Car #520?
• What really happened during the foot chase after the stop?
• What happened when police entered the home at 2717 Bryant Avenue South after being told by the owner that a man was breaking in, had broken in, or was burglarizing his home?
• How long did it take to remove the cat from the house in order not to impede the K-9 search of the house?
• Why did the K-9 officer order the dog to release Mr. Franklin before he was handcuffed?
• As SWAT teams are highly trained, why wasn’t Mr. Franklin tasered?
• As of this writing, why hasn’t the Star Tribune reported that Mr. Franklin was shot in the head six times?
• Were the six shots to the head to cover up his being beaten senseless, first by a fist hard to his head followed by raining blows on him with flashlights, suggesting he was shot in the head as he lay unconscious on the floor?
• Had he been standing up, in such a small space as the laundry room, wouldn’t one or more of the other five officers have been hit?
• Why wasn’t it reported until Sunday that the shooting took place in the basement? (I first reported that on my Saturday blog radio show.)
• Why, as late as Sunday, was it not possible to determine how many shots were fired when crime scene protocol is to gather and catalog all shell casings, not to mention counting bullet wounds revealed by the autopsy?
• Why did the story change with new sets of explanation talking points, as seen in this series of Star Tribune stories?
• “Uptown Mayhem, two dead, two officers shot.”
• “Crash 35 minutes after cops shot.”
• “Questions swirl after shots (fatal crash)”
• “Questions remain in Minneapolis fatal shooting, collision”
• “Man who died in struggle with Minneapolis police shot multiple times”
The most recent version, as of this writing, is that after being released from the jaws of the dog, Mr. Franklin charged the five officers (who had guns drawn); and although an officer had punched him hard in the face, the claim is that the punch didn’t stop him, nor did beating him with flashlights, so that, as he reached for an officer’s gun, they “had” to shoot him.
One person, five cops: really?
The police report Mr. Franklin wounded one officer in the leg. At that point, according to what will be the police version, one of the five officers fired six shots into Mr. Franklin’s head, who then fell. The scenario will say a second officer fell when the officer shot in the leg fell into him, pinning both on the floor with Mr. Franklin falling on top of them. This suggests the police continued firing, resulting in a second officer being hit in the leg.
As the medical examiner eventually said, the 22-year-old Mr. Franklin had been shot multiple times. His family would be well advised to have an independent autopsy in order to verify the number of times Mr. Franklin was shot and the number of bites and tears on his body during the course of the attack by the K-9 before the shooting.
Consider this scenario: Mr. Franklin was dazed by a fist to his head and then rendered unconscious from a beating with flashlights; and then, in the animal frenzy, he was summarily executed. Although difficult to think about, we recall that several months ago, another African American, a little older, was killed in exactly the same manner in another incident, in a St. Paul basement, in which a K-9 was also involved. Are we looking at a larger pattern and practice?
Will there be a Grand Jury investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of Mr. Franklin or into the death of the Mexican motorcyclist killed by a speeding police squad car heading to the scene 30 minutes later?
Terrance Terrill Franklin’s death should be a chilling reminder to those of us in the African American community that we are targets of opportunity and fair game in an ongoing war against the African American community, not only here but across the country. In a word: business as usual. Worse: no outcry from our community leadership.
May Mr. Franklin’s family be provided with the forensic evidence that will allow a better understanding of events leading to the death of their loved one. Hopefully, somewhere between the police description of that struggle and Mr. Franklin’s death lies the truth.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.