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Franklin’s Family Questions County Atty’s Objectivity In Grand Jury Case

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Hennepin County grand jury will review the case of a man who died during a struggle with Minneapolis police.

And on Friday, Michael Padden, an attorney for Terrance Franklin’s family, said the Hennepin County Attorney should not be involved in the case.

Police said Terrance Franklin was shot on May 10 after he tried to grab an officer’s gun. According to authorities, Franklin ran from officers after a suspected burglary, then fought with them in the basement of a home in Uptown.

Two officers were also shot, but recovered.

Franklin’s family has disputed the story police tell, and Padden said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman is taking the side of police officers before the grand jury gets a chance to hear the case.

Padden said historically there has been a failure to prosecute officers for misconduct. He fears with Freeman involved, his client does not stand a chance at justice.

“No surprise whatsoever — we are not surprised at all,” Padden said.

Padden said he knew from Day 1 that there would be a claim that his client’s DNA would be found on that officer’s gun.

“I had reached this conclusion personally before I was even retained for this case,” he said. “I think you need to look at the scenario that’s presented.”

Sources said testing shows Franklin’s DNA was on an officer’s submachine gun. Those sources said Franklin took the gun, but officers were able to get it back and return fire.

“We are confident that this is a wrongful killing,” Padden said. “And that the evidence was planted to protect one primary officer from not only being fired from this job, but the potential for criminal charges.”

Padden said he is concerned about bias in this case. He points to a recent quote in a community newspaper from Freeman, who said “police officers never shoot their gun unless they fear for their life, your life, or someone else’s.”

Padden said, “The interpretation is that a police officer, while on duty, is not capable of committing a criminal act and that’s just a false statement — it’s a false belief.”

Freeman said it’s ludicrous that he is taking the side of officers, and said the quote is a part of a larger quote of him talking about the difference between a vigilante and a police officer.

Padden believes the appropriate thing to do would be to forward the case to another entity and not the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

The case will be heard by a grand jury next month, which is standard when someone is killed by police.

Freeman said Franklin’s attorney has been trying to get him into a debate about the facts in the case and he won’t go there.

He said the only things he has discussed has already been reported in the media and not from the case file.

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