Minneapolis, MN — On May 10, 2013, Minneapolis Police killed two people in the span of 30 minutes. Terrance ‘Mookie Moe’ Franklin, 22, was hunted, cornered and gunned down with ten shots, including five bullets to the head. Thirty minutes later, Ivan Romero-Oliveras, 24, was killed by a Minneapolis squad car racing through red lights to the scene of the police-involved killing. Ten years later and with at least eleven more victims, the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) continues to utilize the same violent practices, racist techniques, and cover-ups with the same officers.
Though the department is now under new leadership and subject to a court-enforceable agreement to change its culture after an investigation — spawned from the brutal murder of George Floyd — by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, little has changed in the last decade.
Evidence gathered by Franklin’s family attorney, hired investigators and journalists shows that from the onset of Franklin’s 2013 encounter with the police, prompted by a midday 911 call about an alleged burglary suspect, MPD fabricated, misled, and covered up the deadly actions taken by its officers who, experts say, were recorded calling Franklin the N-word several times before fatally shooting him.
Many of the officers involved went on to receive accolades after a carefully crafted narrative was spread through legacy media of hero cops killing a suspect with a “blank stare” who managed to wrestle a gun away from a SWAT team and shoot two of them.
One of Franklin’s killers, Lucas Peterson, was a part of the violent, disbanded Gang Strike Force and went on to train several other killer cops, including Derek Chauvin. A graduate of Minneapolis South High School, Peterson’s record of complaints and lawsuits filed against him is long and shows an extensive pattern of violent and racist acts against Minneapolis community members.
All officers were cleared of wrongdoing shortly after Franklin’s killing and Romero’s death. In early 2020, the City of Minneapolis settled a wrongful death lawsuit (pdf) with the family of Terrance Franklin for $795,000.
Franklin’s killing received renewed attention after the police murder of George Floyd, leading to discussions about reopening his case. The renewed interest has yet to turn into tangible action despite officers offering new information from the incident in return for immunity.
A documentary released by TIME in 2021 showcased some of the inconsistencies in the police reports (pdf). In the film, Terrance’s father shared that MPD killed his uncle, Hosie Walton Jr. (1987), his cousin, Tycel Nelson (1990), and then his son Terrance (2013).
The Last Day of Their Lives
The incident on May 10 started with a 911 call about someone who matched the description of a person who had previously broken into an apartment unit. Police appeared on the scene with their guns drawn, prompting Franklin to drive around an officer and hit the open door of an MPD squad car while evading. This action led to dozens of police being dispatched to the call saying the suspect had attempted to hit an officer with their vehicle as they fled.
After a brief car chase, Franklin got out of his vehicle and ran a few blocks into a basement at 2717 Bryant Avenue South in Uptown Minneapolis.
After some time, five MPD SWAT officers – Andrew Stender, Ricardo Muro, Mark Durand, Michael Meath and Lucas Peterson stormed the cramped basement where Franklin was hiding and released a dog on Franklin. What happened next is still unclear, as no video of the shooting has been produced and facets of the officers’ stories have been proven false.
The police say Franklin allegedly attacked the heavily armed SWAT members, punching an officer and wrestling a gun away from them before shooting two of them in the leg, forcing them to fire back.
Franklin’s family, friends, and advocates don’t trust the police version and have described Franklin’s killing as an “assassination,” “execution” and “murder.”
Family attorney Mike Padden said police “executed” Franklin after SWAT officer Mark Durand mistakenly fired two shots at fellow officers Ricardo Muro and Michael Meath with his MP5 submachine gun.
Audio from a video that was taken from across the street of the killing was forensically dissected and experts report that officers called Franklin the N-word at least twice before shooting him. Padden said the delayed amount of time between the two shots and a flurry of shots heard on the audio proved the police’s reported timeline was inaccurate.
About thirty minutes later, officer Joshua Young weaved through traffic, running red lights down a busy 26th Street while delivering water to the officers who had just killed Franklin. At Blaisdell and 26th, Young’s MPD cruiser ran over and killed Ivan Romero-Oliveras, whose motorcycle had started to slide as he hit the brakes in response to the police entering the intersection. Romero-Oliveras’s girlfriend was on the motorcycle with him. She was seriously injured, but survived the crash.
Hennepin County Attorney’s Office declined to press charges on Young despite his “failure to use care,” claiming Romero-Oliveras was more at fault. Their report (pdf) stated the contributing factors were Romero-Oliveras’s speed and alleged “inexperience” driving motorcycles.
Friends and family of Romero-Oliveras created and maintained a vigil site decorated with flowers for months after his death. And Franklin’s killing led to a several-month long movement seeking justice and police accountability. See images from a variety of protests and a YouTube playlist below.
Southside-Raised Killers, Lucas Peterson and Michael Meath
For years, community members in Minneapolis have understood that Minneapolis Police officers are coming into the city from Andover and far away suburbs to police the citizens. However, the two shooters of Terrance Franklin, Lucas Peterson and Michael Meath, graduated from Minneapolis South High School in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
A former classmate of Peterson and Meath, who wished to remain anonymous, told Unicorn Riot that those two officers were on the high school hockey team together. “I didn’t make the connection that officers Peterson and Meath who killed Franklin were the South hockey guys until like 2018, it was actually a buddy of mine who told me. He put it together.”
The hockey team seemed to stand out from all of the sports teams, the former classmate said, including the majority-white ones. The hockey players were “hypermasculine racist jocks.”
The classmate wondered “how these guys are remembered by other former classmates.” They said, “I wonder if most people even know what they became,” and that it was the community that produced “these killers.”
“I feel the community really has to reckon with the fact that we produce these killers the same as we have produced so many kind and visionary artists and activists.”Anonymous former Minneapolis South High student
Being a cop runs in Peterson’s family. His father and grandfather were also Minneapolis Police officers. For over twenty years now, Minneapolis residents like former NAACP official Brett Buckner, have been asking for Peterson to be fired, “How soon is his locker going to get cleared out?”
Terrance and Ivan leave behind loved ones and friends. Terrance had a son who’s now a teenager and has lived the last 10 years without his father.