By Angela Simpson Buckner
JA Contributing Writer
At this moment in time, all eyes are on Memphis Police Department due to the tragic death of FedEx worker, Tyre Nichols, who was stopped for an alleged traffic violation. According to Memphis Police Chief, Cerelyn “CJ” Davis, “We have not been able to substantiate reckless driving.” All the world watched as bodycam footage seemingly incriminated all involved. On the one hand, many critics of MPD say they believe Davis was aware of what her officers were doing. On the other hand, several people say they are appreciative for her transparency and willingness to speak to the media about the behavior of her officers.
A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday, February 7, 2023 where the family of Kelvin Franklin will shed light on similar acts that were encountered by Indianola Police Department officers. Tuesday, February 7, 2023 is the court date for Kelvin Franklin to address “trumped up charges” that he is facing. The family is asking activists from surrounding areas to be in attendance to make the general public aware of their claims of excessive force. There is a video that has gone viral on The Mic Magazine social media platform that has yet to be thoroughly addressed by Chief Ronald Sampson, Mayor Ken Featherstone or the Board of Alderman.
On Friday, December 30, 2022, media was told to “get off the property” of the Indianola Police Department by Officer Greg Capers. A formal complaint was filed in that regard. However, the purpose for the visit to the police department from local media was to investigate the Franklin family’s allegations of an active military member named Staff Sergeant Kelvin Franklin. Franklin was said by family to have been unresponsive due to being choked, tased in the neck and arrested. The family further explained that while he was being tased, Franklin informed the officers on call that he has one kidney. Franklin was arrested on the Friday night before New Year’s Eve, but Franklin was released the very next day on a Saturday from the Sunflower County jail.
Franklin stated, “First the officer pulled a gun on me. I said why would you want to shoot me. I hadn’t done anything for you to shoot me. Then he put the gun back and pulled a taser. I asked him why would you want to tase me and I hadn’t done anything.” The encounter that Franklin speaks of was caught on video camera by a relative who was with him that night. The video footage is approximately four minutes. Franklin expressed that he was ready to leave Indianola as soon as possible to head back to Camp Shelby. Franklin reiterated he has one kidney. He said his kidney was removed in an emergency surgery due to him being shot as an innocent bystander at a local convenience store. He further stated that the Indianola Police Department told him that there is no paperwork to support his allegations although he was airlifted to a Jackson hospital and a statement was later given to an investigator.
According to his aunt Ruthie Franklin, “I was given permission to file a formal complaint by Kelvin. I have been to the police department several times to file a formal complaint and no one will accept it. The Chief’s secretary has a box where she is supposed to accept mail, but every time I went to file a formal complaint I was rejected. I guess we’re not the right color, but the way that black officer treated my nephew that night brought tears to my eyes. I hate to think about it. My nephew is at Camp Shelby and I am doing everything I know how to speak on behalf of my nephew because his mother is sick. Even if they don’t accept the complaint, you would think the Mayor and the Chief would take claims of excessive force seriously enough to address his officer immediately, but Greg Capers is all on social media showing folks in our city that nothing happens to officers who use excessive force. I am very disappointed in Chief Sampson. We are not the only family this has happened to. We simply want Chief Sampson to release the bodycam footage of the incident.”
Today’s society operates on real-time video footage that can sometimes prove to be damaging to individuals in the field of law enforcement. The family of George Floyd attributed nationwide exposure of Floyd’s death to a then 17-year old young lady who recorded the murder. However, not every victim of police brutality will die from sustained injuries. Nevertheless, Lora King told various media outlets that her father, Rodney King, did not succumb to his wounds, but she did admit that something within him died that very day he was beaten by Los Angeles police officers. “Situations like this shouldn’t have to take an act of Congress to build community trust. We have no confidence in the Indianola Police Department’s leadership, but hopefully, someone will hear our cry on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, on my nephew’s court date,“ Ruthie Franklin reiterated.