Jury Awards Black Man $1 After Cops Beat And Wrongfully Detain Him

Isabella Ohlmeyer
DeShawn Franklin was beaten and tased by police officers in 2012 because they believed he was his brother. How the jury treated the case was even more appalling.

Police officers are continuing to racially profile African-American men. This time, it involves physically hurting the wrong person.  

In 2012, DeShawn Franklin, then 18, was repeatedly punched and tasered by police officers who mistook him for his brother, Dan Franklin. Both siblings have dreadlocks, but Dan had a domestic violence charge. 

According to SouthBend Tribune, the three Indiana officers, Aaron Knepper, Michael Stuk, and Eric Mentz, entered the Franklin home without a warrant and punched the teenager while he was asleep.

After the officers attacked Franklin, they took him out of his home, tased him and held him in a cop car for two hours with Taser probes in his skin until paramedics removed them.

The officers apologized to the teenager after they realized their mistake and took him back to his home.

“It became apparent that there were indeed physical similarities between DeShawn and Dan, but ultimately, DeShawn was truly sleeping and only acted as he did out of shock/surprise,” Knepper said.

It only got worse for the Franklin family after they decided to sue the police officers for violating the boy’s civil rights and demanded compensation.


The Franklins only received $1 per party, totaling to a meager $18 for the family in compensation for damages.

At the end of testimony, jurors were allegedly told they could award $1 if they didn’t find evidence of more damages, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Yet adding insult to injury, the Franklin family was told  to pay the city $1,500 in defending the case. Thankfully, their lawyer will pay the expenses and is requesting over $160,000 in attorney fees from the city.

Mario Sims, a pastoral counselor for the family, told WNDU, “It creates a very difficult environment when you deal with African-American people. You tell them to trust the system, and this family did all the right things, they did trust the system, and essentially, even though the jury found their rights were violated, the jury didn’t value those rights.”

Franklin, now 22, is attempting to move on from this incident, but is still angry about the little amount of compensation him and his family received from the court.

“I have no value on the face of Earth, just as a person,” Franklin said. “We all bleed the same, so how could you value my family’s constitutional rights at a dollar but maybe elsewhere it could be $5, $10, $100,000? It just shows no respect for us.”

It’s the sole duty of law enforcement officers to make sure they are catching the correct people and not resort to racial profiling and discrimination.  

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Banner Image Credit: Jess Arnold, ABC57, Twitter