A crime has been committed in Minneapolis and Hennepin County, and those who are charged with running the city, Mayor R.T. Rybak, the Minneapolis City Council the Hennepin County commissioners, the attorney general, the Chamber of Commerce, and the business community are all complicit by their silence.
Terrance Franklin is dead. He was shot in the head five times and in the back twice, admittedly by Minneapolis police. Officer Lucas Petterson has supposedly taken credit for shooting Franklin. But Petterson’s and his fellow officers’ stories of what happened don’t make sense and don’t explain why he was shot in the back and in the back of the head.
Clearly, by any measuring stick, something went very wrong in the basement of 2717 Bryant on May 10. The story the cops gave about the young man reaching for a gun and somehow putting it on single shot and shooting two officers sounds suspect.
It’s my belief a crime was committed, and that crime just may have been murder. The cop who killed Franklin has a rap sheet a mile long. According to the Star Tribune, he has cost the city over $700,000 in money lost to settlements alleging police brutality and misconduct.
According to the article, he has been named in 13 — that’s right, 13 — excessive force complaints. In fact, Petterson has already killed one man back in 2002, Christopher Burns, using a since-outlawed choke hold.
Young people on the North Side regularly mention Petterson’s name as one of the more brutal cops. One young man reported that Petterson harassed and beat him while off duty. Yet his superiors have all called him an excellent cop, and he was named Officer of the Year for the Fourth Precinct in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
“He’s kind of, in my opinion, what we wish every cop should be,” said the Police Federation recently. His former boss, Tim Dolan, called him “a great performer for the MPD.” More telling words have never been spoken.
People everywhere are talking about the shooting of young Franklin, and most in the Black community suspect that he was executed. The placement of the bullets certainly indicates that as a possibility.
Yet the mayor of Minneapolis is oddly silent. He has not come out and offered sincere condolences to the family. He has not assured the public that the investigation into the matter will be fair and impartial. Does the mayor really have that little respect for the Black community in particular and the community in general? Or is his silence a form of consent?
Does the city council, with the exception of Cam Gordon, really think they don’t have a responsibility to make sure that a fair and impartial investigation is conducted? Or do they agree with what happened?
Do the Hennepin County commissioners really believe they don’t have a responsibility to say anything to the community or to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman? Or is their silence also consent?
Does Mike Freeman think that he can withhold the medical examiner’s report, including the autopsy, from the next of kin (which is usually done when police are done with their investigation) and people are still going to trust that his investigation and what he delivers to a grand jury will be impartial, fair and untainted by his own biases? Does Freeman believe that his actions are going to make people think this will be a fair and transparent process?
It appears, judging from the silence, that Minneapolis and Hennepin County are two lawless municipalities that are allowing their law enforcement and county attorney to simply do anything they want to do. It is apparent that either they don’t have enough respect for the community, or they simply think that by remaining silent this issue will go away.
However, they are wrong about one thing: This is not going to go away. The mayor, the city council, and the county commissioners are ignoring this at their own peril.
The young people who are carrying this fight — primarily by themselves, with very little help from their elders — have no plans on giving up. There have been a few protests, and they have all been peaceful and disciplined, and they have consistently demanded one thing. That is that the police who killed Terrance Franklin be arrested and charged with his killing, and that they be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, just as would be done to the young people themselves by none other than Mike Freeman and his crew.
The young people know that Freeman has not hesitated to throw the book at them and their peers. They know that Freeman had little mercy for CeCe McDonald or the Hmong father whose son shot one of his brothers.
They know that Freeman refused to indict any of the members of the Metro Gang Task Force, which was revealed to be running amok and running its own criminal enterprise. And they know that Freeman has added insult to injury by refusing Terrance’s dad, Walter Franklin, access to the medical examiner’s report and autopsy.
However, the power structure may be on to something! They may have a point! If the preachers, teachers, churchgoers, unionists, activists, college students, community members White, Black, Latin and Asian sit this out, the Minneapolis police will get away with this crime. They may possibly get away with murder.
Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to [email protected]
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