Today brought more controversy for the South Bend Police Department.
This time it’s not about taping, but ‘tasing:’ The alleged tasing of an innocent teenager.
“They need to be punished for sure,” said Vivian Franklin about the officers who came to her home in the early morning hours of July 7th.
“It was at, I’d say about three or four o’clock in the morning when they beating at my door,” said Franklin.
When she answered, she said police came running into her home without a warrant.
“And I tell them, he’s not here, whoever they looking for and they gonna say, he’s right here, like I was lying, and they went in my son’s room and tased him and hit him but he was asleep in his bed,” Franklin said.
It appears to be a case of mistaken identity. Police were actually searching for the brother of the teen they found in the bedroom of the Bowman Street home.
As a result, Riley High School Senior Deshawn Franklin ended up with a swollen jaw. The family claims Franklin was also shot twice with a stun gun, and an ambulance had to be called when police could not remove one of the probes from the teen’s abdomen.
“If they doing this, they gonna kill someone else or hurt someone else, and we need taken off, or fired or something needs to be done,” said Vivian Franklin.
Today, leaders of the community action group, Citizens United for Better Government announced their support for the family.
“We’re involved because it’s been almost four months now, there’s been no word, we can’t access the police report so we don’t know if there’s an investigation or not,” said CUBG President Mario Sims. “Put yourself in this family’s shoes, you’re woke up at 2:00 in the morning by people beating at your door, you answer the door and you got flashlights in your face, and officers with drawn guns, no warrant, pushing themselves into your house, assaulting your child.”
Late today, police department spokesperson Capt. Phil Trent told News Center 16 that an internal investigation into the incident has been completed. Capt. Trent said that the Franklin family’s allegations were “sustained.”
Capt. Trent said no disciplinary action was taken, although “remedial” action was. Capt. Trent says that the officers were ordered to complete additional training.
On the day in question, police were responding to a brutal domestic violence complaint in which the victim was bitten and disfigured. Officers were ordered to immediately arrest the suspect considered dangerous.
Capt. Trent said the police report shows that officers deployed a stun gun once, but that only one of the two probes hit Franklin—indicating that the teen did not receive an electric shock.
While Franklin family members were correct in saying that police would not provide them a copy of the incident report, Capt. Trent explains that the encounter with the Franklins was a small part of the overall report on the domestic violence case, and that state law restricts access to sexual offenses, in order to protect the victim.
Capt. Trent says that officers were chasing a suspect in the domestic violence case when the suspect’s scent was picked up in the yard of the Bowman Street home. That is what lead officers to believe that their suspect was inside.