MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The attorney for the parents of a man shot and killed by police officers is making serious allegations against the Minneapolis Police Department.
With the parents of Terrance “Mookie” Franklin by his side, attorney Scott Padden questioned how Minneapolis police have investigated this case and accused Minneapolis police of racial profiling in this incident.
Franklin, 22, died on May 10 after a chase in an Uptown neighborhood. Two police officers were shot during the struggle inside the basement of a home.
Padden said it doesn’t seem right that Franklin would try and grab an officer’s gun.
“I want to make clear to you that it’s the position of Mookie’s parents, other family and friends that this young man was not capable of that type of conduct and it would be completely out of character for him,” Padden said.
Padden’s biggest accusation, however, is that two officers outside of the home Franklin was hiding in used the “N-word” when talking about the suspect. Padden said while listening to audio from video posted on YouTube by a neighbor, he can hear one officer say, “Watch out for the N-word,” and another respond with, “Damn freaking N-word.”
“If something happens publicly we will apologize for that. But I can tell you we feel very confident these are the words spoken,” Padden said.
Padden used what he calls other examples of racial bias by Minneapolis police officers during his half-hour presentation. He added that he believes that this is a tough investigation for the department, but said he’s concerned about a pattern he believes is developing.
“A lot of folks think this way, that this department has a problem with racism and it’s endemic,” Padden said.
A police spokesman said that the department responds to 400,000 calls each year involving people of color. And that this incident, as well as every other incident that officers respond to, are based on public safety needs.
In a written statement, Chief Janee Harteau said: “It is disappointing that Mr. Franklin’s family refuse my offer to meet to give them an inside look at the investigative process and status, yet they are free to make public accusations against my officers. If they have video of events from the scene, I request they turn it over to me as it is evidence in an active investigation.”
In another response to Thursday’s press conference, which was posted on the Minneapolis Police Department’s Facebook page, Harteau calls the allegations against city officers “not only preposterous but without merit.”
“Chief Harrington and I have viewed the video multiple times, amplifying the audio, and hear absolutely no racial epithets whatsoever,” the response said. “The reality is, the comments made by the responding officers were appropriate and clearly relate to aiding the injured officers with a tourniquet. At 26 seconds an officer asks for a tourniquet. This is followed by an officer saying, “I’ve got a tourniquet right here.” An officer then responds about needing a tourniquet in the alley. This video is accessible on Youtube (sic) to the public, and we encourage people to view it for themselves. This attorney owes the Minneapolis Police Department, Metro Transit Police Department and the community a public apology.”
The police officers hurt in the struggle with Franklin on May 10 didn’t give statements until last week.
Padden believes there should be a law requiring officers involved in the death of another person be interviewed as soon as possible — within a few hours of the incident.
Police say they’re taking their time to make sure the investigation is done right.
Padden said at this point he has not filed a lawsuit against the department and is waiting for details of the investigation to be released.