CPC Statement on Justice for Desmond Franklin

July 30, 2021

At this moment our thoughts are with the family of Desmond Franklin, who was killed by an off duty Cleveland police officer on April 9th 2020. Today would have been his 24th birthday. We believe justice has still not been served. For his birthday this year, we call upon the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor to reopen the case and ensure that all evidence is presented to the Grand Jury fairly and as the law prescribes.

The conflicting information provided by witnesses, including a young man who was with Desmond when he was killed, lead us to believe that our justice system did not work as designed in this case. There is a need for additional analyses of the videos of the encounter between the two cars and of the off-duty police officer’s 911 call.

Expert analyses can determine the timing of the call, the five shots fired by the off-duty officer, and the likelihood that Desmond was facing the officer when he was struck by a bullet from the off-duty officer’s gun. Justice must be based upon expert and impartial analyses and not conclusions reached by the presenting prosecutors based upon the prior illegal conduct of Desmond and his companion.

If the analysis has already been conducted, then transparency is lacking. If Desmond and his friend stole two cases of Faygo, they deserved to be prosecuted. However, theft is not a capital offense, and Desmond did not deserve to die as a result of an error in judgement. The community needs to be satisfied that Desmond’s death was not the result of an unfortunate encounter with an off-duty police officer who overreacted and used excessive force.

Reopening the case and providing transparency to the public until its conclusion is the best course of action to rebuild trust in the process of justice.

The Cleveland Community Police Commission

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