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Review board recommends 6-10 day suspension for officer who shot and killed Desmond Franklin

Board finds Officer Jose Garcia failed to identify himself as an officer
Desmond Franklin
Posted at 5:44 PM, Dec 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-13 18:38:31-05

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland police officer who shot and killed Desmond Franklin in April 2020 now faces discipline more than two years after the deadly shooting.

In a 4-3 vote Tuesday, members of Cleveland’s Civilian Police Review Board found Police Officer Jose Garcia failed to identify himself as a police officer when he confronted Franklin and a teen about stealing cases of pop from a delivery truck parked outside a Cleveland convenience store.

Investigators said Garcia, who was off-duty and in plain clothes at the time, then drove away from the store on his way to report to work at Second District Police Headquarters.

Along the way, investigators said Franklin drove alongside Garcia as the two cars neared Riverside Cemetery.

Garcia said Franklin pointed a gun at him, so Garcia fired several times, shooting Franklin in the head and killing the 23-year-old father of four.

A grand jury found Garcia fired in self-defense.

Franklin’s father filed a complaint with the city against the officer, claiming his son was murdered and writing his death didn’t have to happen that way over some pop.

An internal investigation found no evidence Garcia used excessive force, but did find Garcia failed to identify himself as a police officer during the initial confrontation in front of the convenience store before driving away.

“He decided to insert himself and then changed his mind,” said Civilian Police Review Board member Brandon Brown, “but that doesn’t change the fact he had already inserted himself.”

In fact, an investigator with the city’s Office of Professional Standards said since Garcia was off-duty and in plain clothes, he had no duty to get involved when he saw the theft.

Instead, the investigator said Garcia could have simply called police to report it.

However, once Garcia yelled to Franklin and the teen, Investigator David Hammons said Garcia acted as an officer.

“As a result of Officer Jose Garcia taking police action and failing to identify himself as a police officer, the situation transitioned from a contentious encounter to a use of deadly force," Hammons said.

The Board recommended Garcia be suspended between six and ten days.

Police commanders will make that decision.

Franklin’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming Garcia acted recklessly.

In a statement Tuesday, Emanuel Franklin, Desmond’s father, said, “I just want to say that I think it’s horrible to allow Garcia to get a six-day suspension for killing my son over some soda. My son is gone, his children have no father. I would have liked to see him go to prison but once again this so-called justice system has failed me and my son and his children. It’s wrong, and may God have mercy on his soul. I’m very disappointed.”