Hundreds of protesters marched on the Nicollet Mall Friday, demanding answers surrounding the death of Terrance “Mookie” Franklin, 22, an African-American shot and killed on May 10th after allegedly resisting arrest in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Spoken word artists, a prospective 9th Ward City Council candidate, young friends and family members rallied in downtown Minneapolis to demand justice from the police, who they allege were involved in the murder of a young man.
“Tonight is about letting everybody know that we won’t stop until we get justice for Terrance,” said Emma Mercer, a friend and one of the organizers of the rally that took place on the plaza of the Hennepin County Government Center. Emma and others want the police to be prosecuted and are calling for the city’s civil rights department to step in.
City and police authorities have said Franklin was shot after fleeing from officers and hiding in the basement of a home. Many questions around the incident, which also led to two officers being treated for gunshot wounds and the death of a motorcyclist who was struck by a squad car hurrying to the scene, have yet to be answered by police.
“We want them (Minneapolis Police) to stop insulting our intelligence with this story because it’s not making any sense whatsoever,” said Ceara Hinton, a protest organizer. “We just want straight answers. They’re just taking us (family members) on a run.”
Franklin’s family obtained an amateur video taken by someone in front of the Bryant Avenue So. home where Franklin died, apparently moments after the fatal shots were fired. Family members allege that police can be heard using racial slurs, including the “N Word,” to refer to Franklin, something Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau denies. Harteau says the officers can clearly be heard using the word, “tourniquet.” Harteau asked Mike Padden, the attorney representing Franklin’s family, for an apology.
“This attorney owes the Minneapolis Police Department, the Metro Transit Police Department and the community an apology,” Harteau said in a statement last week.
Padden held firm, for now. He told reporters that he and members of his staff enhanced the audio of the video in question and says he can clearly hear the racial slur. “We may be wrong,” he said when asked by a reporter. “We will publicly apologize if we are. But we don’t think we are.”
Activist Mel Reeves joined members of Franklin’s family and friends in calling for an independent investigation. They claim police haven’t given them all the answers surrounding Terrance’s death and have created an online petition called Justice for Terrance. They’re also drawing some comparisons to the Trayvon Martin case in Florida.
Reeves claims that friends and family have a source in the Hennepin County coroner’s office that told them that Terrance was shot five times in the back of the head and twice in the back.
Family members intend to keep protesting until, they say, Minneapolis Police, tell them what happened during the shootout that left their loved one dead. Terrance’s father, Walter, told the crowd that he intends to be vigilant.
“I want one thing for everybody to know…They’re gonna see our face, if not my face, until we get justice,” he said as the crowd cheered. “Because we want justice for Terrance,” Walter Franklin bellowed through a bullhorn as some of Terrance’s family members cheered him on.
Police say the shooting remains under investigation.