The city of Minneapolis has settled with the family of Terrance Franklin for $795,000, closing the books on a dispute in federal court more than six years after he was fatally shot by Minneapolis police.
The City Council approved the payment after a brief, closed-door meeting Friday morning. Mayor Jacob Frey will approve it, according to spokesman Darwin Forsyth.
“This was just a tragedy for everyone involved,” City Council President Lisa Bender said after the vote. “I think our policy changes in the police department, the leadership changes have really created a scenario where this would be unlikely to happen again. So, I think it’s time to move forward and really continue with the changes that we’re making in the police department to make sure this never happens again.”
Franklin, 22, was shot in the darkened basement of a South Side home on May 10, 2013, after a struggle with SWAT officers, who had suspected he was involved in an earlier burglary. Two officers were also struck by gunfire during the altercation, but both survived.
A lawsuit filed by Franklin’s father, Walter Louis Franklin II, alleges that Franklin had already surrendered with both hands in the air when he was shot, but police and city officials maintain that he was shot after wresting control of an M5 rifle from an officer. The officers involved were cleared in an internal investigation, and a grand jury concluded there was insufficient evidence to prosecute them.
No independent witnesses saw the deadly confrontation. Franklin’s family, friends and supporters rejected the official police account of what happened and launched a public awareness campaign alleging that officers had no right to shoot Franklin, known to friends as “Mookie.”
City officials have said they believe this was the last pending police-related lawsuit that did not have body camera footage that could be used as evidence. The department began rolling out body cameras in 2016, three years after Franklin died.
Bender said she hopes that the increased use of body cameras by Minneapolis police officers will allow for clarity in future cases.
“That change, I think, will help us going forward understand better what happened in these scenarios,” she said.
Franklin’s family sued the city of Minneapolis, former Police Chief Janeé Harteau and officers Lucas Peterson and Michael Meath, who was shot during the confrontation with Franklin. Bender said the family had agreed to drop Harteau, Peterson and Meath from the suit as part of the settlement with the city. The payment included attorneys’ fees.
The family initially sought $1 million in damages.
Attorney Mike Padden, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Franklin’s father, said he expected that the settlement would help bring some closure to the family.
“We were ready to go to trial for sure, but based on the negotiations that occurred and where things ended up, the decision was made to settle,” Padden said. The family declined to comment through Padden.
The settlement to Franklin’s family will be the latest of several paid by the city for a fatal police-involved shooting. In August, the city paid $200,000 to the family of Jamar Clark, who was killed in a November 2015 confrontation with two white police officers on the city’s North Side, an incident that heightened racial tensions and prompted a weekslong encampment outside a nearby police station.
In June, the city approved a record $20 million settlement to the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who was killed in July 2017 by then-Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor. Noor, who was convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter, is now serving a prison sentence.
Padden cautioned against measuring the settlement amount in Franklin’s case to payouts in other high-profile police shootings, saying that each case stands on its own merits.
“I think you need to be careful about comparing it and contrasting it to other tragic cases,” he said. “It’s settled and now everyone can move on with their lives.”
Staff writer Libor Jany contributed to this report.
Liz Navratil • 612-673-4994