Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Cleveland Police Officer Who Shot and Killed Desmond Franklin

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click to enlarge Demonstrators at a march for Desmond Franklin in June, 2020. - Sam Allard / Scene
Sam Allard / Scene
Demonstrators at a march for Desmond Franklin in June, 2020.

The father of Desmond Franklin this week filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Cleveland police officer Jose Garcia, who shot and killed Franklin on April 9, 2020 while off duty.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury in February declined to bring charges against Garcia. The case was presented by the office of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

Yost said officer Jose Garcia was on his way to work when he encountered Franklin and a juvenile engaged in potential criminal activity outside a convenience store on Forestdale Avenue in Cleveland's Brooklyn Centre neighborhood.

Garcia saw the pair stealing a box of pop from a truck. There was a brief verbal exchange. According to Yost, Garcia was acting as a private citizen and took no action to enforce the law.

Garcia then left the scene, and Franklin pursued in his vehicle. As the two were driving alongside each other, Garcia said that Franklin pointed a gun at him, which prompted him to fire at Franklin. He fired five shots, killing him with a shot to the head.

The juvenile with Franklin confirmed that he had given Franklin a gun, and a loaded gun was found in Franklin's car. But it has not been corroborated that Franklin pointed it at Garcia and according to the lawsuit, no evidence exists that it was fired at the officer, who nonetheless said in a 911 call that Franklin had shot at him.

Cleveland Police announced in May there would be no administrative charges or punisment against Jose Garcia.

In a press release, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said that his decision to file no charges came after a "thorough administrative review" by the division's Internal Affairs Unit, which determined that Garcia did not violate any policies, rules or regulations.

The City of Cleveland is still in the midst of an administrative review of Garcia's actions.

“He went beyond what a police officer in that situation should be doing,” Terry Gilbert, who is representing the family, told Cleveland.com. “He should have just called an on-duty police officer. He took the law into his own hands, which led to this terrible tragedy.”

A copy of the complaint can be found here.

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