Minneapolis, MN – The Minneapolis City Council has granted a $795,000 payday to the family of a suspect accused of stealing an officer’s duty weapon and shooting two officers.
The incident occurred on May 10, 2013, after 22-year-old burglary suspect Terrence Franklin fled from police and broke into another residence in south Minneapolis, KSTP reported.
Five Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers cornered him in the basement of the home, at which point Franklin allegedly snatched one of the officer’s guns away, according to KNOW.
Police said that the armed suspect then opened fire, hitting Officer Ricardo Muro and Officer Michael Meath.
Officer Meath and Officer Lucas Peterson returned fire, killing Franklin.
A grand jury later cleared the officers of any wrongdoing, KSTP reported.
Investigators also found a gun hidden inside a sock near the scene of the shooting. DNA evidence linked Franklin to the weapon, which had been used during the robbery the day prior to the fatal shooting, Alpha News reported.
But in 2014, Franklin’s family filed a wrongful death suit, alleging that the officers lied about Franklin gaining control of the officer’s weapon, according to KNOW.
The lawsuit accused the officers of shooting Franklin while he was trying to surrender, and claimed that the two officers who were wounded were actually hit by friendly fire.
The lawsuit also alleged that one of the officers used a racial slur against Franklin prior to the shooting, Alpha News reported.
The MPD did not equip its officers with bodycams at the time of the altercation.
The family demanded to be awarded at least $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages, according to KNOW.
On Feb. 14, the Minneapolis City Council voted to settle the wrongful death lawsuit by paying Franklin’s family $795,000, KSTP reported.
City Council President Lisa Bender said she believes this is the last time the city will have to pay such settlements now that officers are equipped with bodycams, KMSP reported.
“So, I think it’s time to move forward and really continue with the changes we’re making in the police department to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Bender said.
The Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) denounced the settlement in a statement later the same day.
“Disappointing doesn’t begin to describe this. This is a giant slap in the face to the police in Minneapolis and the communities they serve,” the FOP said. “The Minneapolis City Council just showed its true colors.”
“This payout is likely greater than the insurance policies offered the officers protecting the city,” the group noted. “This settlement, and the Council’s commentary suggestion about body cameras being the answer to cases like this is irresponsible, insulting and serves no purpose other than to stoke the fires set by a media whose objective is to demean and vilify the Minneapolis Police.”
“Not since the Vietnam-era vets returned has a group of selfless servants been vilified so openly,” the FOP railed. “I certainly hope the Council understands the message they’ve sent to the men and women of the Minneapolis Police Department, AGAIN.”
The Police Officers Federation (POF) of Minneapolis also blasted the settlement, according to KMSP.
“It is with complete and utter disappointment to hear today the City Council of Minneapolis reached a settlement in regards to the death of Terrance Franklin. The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis is outraged to say the least,” the union said.
“This incident changed lives for many, to include the victim’s whose house was burglarized, the victim’s whose car was stolen, and the two Police Officers who were shot and significantly injured by Terrance Franklin, while attempting to stop him on his felonious crime spree,” the statement read.
The settlement not only fails to support law enforcement, it also fails to support crime victims.
“This shows the lack of support and compassion the City Council has regarding crime in this great city, the victim’s it leaves in its wake, and the care and well-being of our officers,” the POF said. “It is a slap in the face of Justice. It seems instead of punishing violent offenders, the City Council is in the business of rewarding violent offenders.”
“This payment only assists with promoting and perpetuating violent acts towards the citizens and visitors of this great city and violence towards Police Officers,” the union warned.
Attorney Mike Padden, who represented Franklin’s family in the lawsuit, said that they were “happy” that the case will now come to a close, KMSP reported.
“This was absolutely not a situation where he was somebody in flight who just committed a crime,” Padden declared.