DeShawn Franklin was asleep in what he thought was the privacy of his own home. That is until police officers his barged into his bedroom.
The assault which ensued was nothing short of a nightmare. He was punched in the face 3 times, tazered, dragged out of his bedroom, handcuffed and put in the back of a police cruiser.
“I didn’t even know what was going on. I was just asleep,” Franklin said. “It was just all a big shock and disturbance.”
One thing became clear immediately: Franklin, then an 18-year-old high school senior, had done absolutely nothing wrong. But he did fit the description of a suspect being sought by the police: a slender, African American man with dreads.
The incident, which occurred in the summer of 2012 in a northern Indiana suburb, prompted a civil rights lawsuit against the police officers and city officials. Earlier this month, a jury found that the officers violated Franklin’s constitutional rights by arresting him and entering his family’s home without a warrant.
But Franklin and his family still feel that justice has been denied.
What price was the police department forced to pay Franklin for violating his civil liberties, civil rights, and right to privacy? The jury ordered each of the defendants to pay Franklin and his parents $1 for the violations of their rights. The total award was a whopping $18 in damages...........
The Rev. Mario Sims, a senior pastor in South Bend, Ind., where Franklin lives, said the small award sends a strong message to Franklin and his family: “Your rights are worth a dollar.”
Russell Thomas Jr., Franklin’s nephew, said the whole experience was a “slap in the face.”
“To me, it’s just solidifying that blacks in America, we have no rights,” he said. “How can we fight for something when the system was not made for us in the first place?”
Franklin isn’t a thug, Sims said, and he DOES NOT have a criminal history. But the incident, which happened 4 years ago left the now-22-year-old distrustful of law enforcement and fearful that something similar will happen again. In fact, Franklin does not want to be recognized, so he has declined requests from local media for a picture of his face.
“It’s traumatizing,” he said. “It’s somewhat of a burden that you have to carry every day.”
I'm am not sure if he is referring to the burden that being Black in America can feel like sometimes? Or the burden of being violated, and mocked and insulted 18 times.