By Kelli Stopczynski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
5:24 PM EDT, October 12, 2012
SOUTH BEND – A family claims South Bend police officers stormed into their home in the middle of the night and then punched and used a stun gun on their 17-year-old son who did nothing to deserve it.
Now, a local activist group is calling for the United States Department of Justice to investigate and demanding answers from the city.
The alleged incident happened more than four months ago – on June 7. Dan and Vivian Franklin said they didn’t know it at the time, but officers were apparently looking for their 21-year-old son after a report of domestic violence a few blocks away.
The Franklins said cops banged on their front door at 3 a.m., shined flashlights in her face then charged in.
“They made me come outside and sit on the porch,” Vivian said. “[I was] trying to figure out what's going on myself.”
She added she tried telling the officers whoever they were looking for was not at the home, and they felt as though they acted like she was lying.
“And they went in my [17-year-old] son’s room and tased him and hit him. He was sleeping in his bed,” she said.
The Franklins showed reporters a cell phone photograph of their son, DeShawn, with a bruised jaw where they say an officer hit him.
“They told me he was gonna go to jail, they sat him out in a police car for what, two hours? They never did take him to jail,” she continued.
And police never arrested her 21-year-old son that night. She claims it was at least two hours until an ambulance arrived to remove the taser probes from the side of DeShawn’s body. When it was all done, Dan Franklin said officers came inside one last time.
“They apologized that night. They came to my room and apologized and wanted to shake my hand and everything, but I wasn't so happy with it,” Dan told WSBT.
“They need to be punished for sure,” Vivian added. “Because they’re gonna kill someone or hurt someone else.”
Now, four months later, local activist group Citizens United for Better Government says the family deserves answers.
“This is a blatant violation of civil liberties and civil rights of an innocent family,” said CUBG leader Mario Sims.
The group is writing a letter to the Justice Department and Indiana’s Attorney General asking for an investigation of the incident. The group also said this is another example of their lack of confidence in the mayor’s ability to lead South Bend.
A statement from Mayor Buttigieg’s Chief of Staff Mike Schmuhl said Friday:
"The Mayor's Office is aware of the incident…The City administration and Common Council are hard at work on completing the budget for next year and working on public safety, vacant and abandoned housing, economic development, and municipal services for South Bend residents."
Interim Police Chief Chuck Hurley told WSBT there was an internal affairs investigation into the incident and that investigation wrapped up earlier this month. He said he cannot comment further on the matter until it is reviewed by the Board of Public Safety.
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