Friday will mark three weeks since a deadly, officer-involved shooting left Terrence Franklin dead and two police officers wounded, and family members of the slain suspect are now accusing the department of racism.
The Minneapolis Police Department is still conducting its investigation, and several questions about the events of that day still remain unanswered. That has Franklin's family members expressing frustration that more information hasn't been released.
Franklin, known to his loved ones as Mookie, would have turned 23 on Thursday, and his family held a press conference with their newly-retained attorney in the afternoon.
While it is still unknown whether a civil wrongful death suit will be filed, the family unleashed accusations of racism by officers at the scene of the shooting, pointing to a YouTube video in which the attorney says the word n----- can be heard twice.
"There's a video that's been on YouTube, taken from across the street where Mookie was killed," attorney Mike Padden said. "At second 24 and 26 respectively, there are words that we can here that we presume are from the voice of two separate Minneapolis Police Department officers."
Padden explained that they had the video enhanced to remove background noise and they have no doubts.
"I can tell you we feel very confident that those are the words that are spoken, and if this is true, this is chilling," he said.
FOX 9 reporter Rob Olson listened to the version posted online but couldn't determine with certainty what was said.
"If I'm wrong, as I said earlier, I will publicly apologize," Padden said. "I don't think I'm wrong."
WATCH THE VIDEO: http://youtu.be/EptFrIrFWDo
Franklin's family members do not dispute that he ran from police and broke into a basement in Uptown, but they repeated their doubts that he would have fought with officers or tried to grab a gun.
"Obviously, when you grab a police gun in the presence of other police officers, you're asking to be killed instantly," Padden affirmed. "Suffice to say, in the event that is the final scenario that's presented by the Minneapolis Police Department, this family is not going to accept that type of conclusion."
After the family's conference, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau issued a statement that said in part, "It is disappointing that Mr. Franklin's family refuse my offer to meet to give them an inside look at the investigative process and status yet they are free to make public accusations against my officers and question the legitimacy of our investigative practices."
Franklin's father disputed that, saying they have not been contacted to come meet with the police; however, Padden said family members would refuse to meet with officers until the investigation is complete.
Harteau's full statement about the family's claims can be found below:
These accusations are not only preposterous but without merit. When false allegations are made, it negatively impacts the community and damages public trust.
The video in question shows both MPD and Metro Transit officers. Chief Harrington and I have viewed the video multiple times, amplifying the audio, and hear absolutely no racial epithets whatsoever. The reality is, the comments made by the responding officers were appropriate and clearly relate to aiding the injured officers with a tourniquet. At 26 seconds an officer asks for a tourniquet. This is followed by an officer saying, "I've got a tourniquet right here." An officer then responds about needing a tourniquet in the alley. This video is accessible on Youtube [sic] to the public, and we encourage people to view it for themselves.
This attorney owes the Minneapolis Police Department, Metro Transit Police Department and the community a public apology.