CLEVELAND — The family of a Cleveland man shot and killed by an off-duty police officer last April said they're devastated by a Grand Jury's decision not to file charges in the death of Desmond Franklin.
Last week, a Grand Jury found the officer shot Desmond Franklin in self-defense as the two drove along Pearl Road near Riverside Cemetery on April 29.
"I'm just at a loss for words with this outcome," said Franklin's father, Emmanuel Franklin, speaking for the first time publicly since the Ohio Attorney General's Office announced the Grand Jury's findings Friday.
"We’re so overwhelmed with pain and hurt from the decision of the jury," said Franklin.
During a news conference last week, prosecutors said the officer told investigators he fired five shots at Franklin after the 22-year-old pulled a gun on him as the two drove.
But the attorney representing Franklin's family questioned that claim and pointed out a passenger in Franklin's car told the Grand Jury the father of four never raised a gun.
It's a claim that attorney Stanley Jackson said is reinforced by video from nearby businesses.
"Not once, in any of the videos do you see that Desmond Franklin has brandished, or do you see a gun in view in his car," said Jackson.
During a news conference Wednesday, Jackson suggested prosecutors either did not present all the evidence in the case to the Grand Jury or did not present it correctly during the closed-door proceedings.
"We believe that is probably the reason that Jose Garcia was not charged," said Jackson.
A spokesman for Attorney General Dave Yost declined to comment on the concerns.
Jackson said the Franklin family is now considering a civil lawsuit as well as considering asking the US Department of Justice to review the case as they search for justice in the case.
"My family has been through tremendous pain, and all we asked for was justice," said Emmanuel Franklin, "and we feel as though they just spit in our face and that a murderer walked free."
Cleveland police said an administrative review of the shooting is underway.
The officer, Jose Garcia, remains on restricted duty.
But the Franklin family attorney seemed skeptical the department will take action.
"We know that the City of Cleveland has truly been the epicenter of a lack of accountability," said Jackson.