Community mourns Desmond Franklin, rallies for action at peaceful protest

More than 1,500 people gathered outside the Cleveland Police Second District Precinct, 3481 Fulton Road, on Saturday, June 6 to demand justice for Desmond Franklin, the 22-year-old man who was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in April.


“He was just trying to live his life,” said Desmond’s father, Emmanuel Franklin, to a silent and kneeling crowd. “My son was going to be somebody…. No father should ever have to see his son in a casket.”


Desmond Franklin, himself a father of four, was shot by officer Jose Garcia while Franklin was driving at West 25th Street and Archwood Avenue on April 9.


Garcia, who was in a civilian vehicle and was not in uniform, claims that Franklin pointed a gun at him.


Desmond Franklin protests outside the Cleveland Police Second District Precinct.Attorneys for the Franklin family and Franklin’s 17-year old passenger state that Garcia hurled racial slurs at Franklin before shooting him unprovoked.


Garcia has neither been fired nor arrested.


On Saturday, protesters called for Garcia’s arrest, and remembered family, but also recognized the 96 other family members in Cleveland whose loved ones have been killed by police officers.


Organizers urged protesters to not simply show up on the streets, but to show up at the polls.

“We put them on notice,” shouted one NAACP spokesperson. “We are voting. Ready or not, here we come.”


The protest started at the Second District Police precinct and ended next to Riverside Cemetery where Franklin was shot. The protest alternated between chants and moments of silence to pay respect to Franklin’s family, who led the march alongside Black Lives Matter Cleveland organizers.


And while there was heavy police and National Guard presence throughout the protest, there were no reported incidences of violence between police and protesters.


The protest closed with a final circle led by Black Lives Matter organizers, who urged protesters to stay politically engaged and continue advocating beyond the streets.


“It is our duty to win,” the crowd chanted alongside organizers. “We have nothing to lose but our chains.”


Additional protests and vigils occurred throughout Northeast Ohio on Saturday.

Read more articles by Sydney Kornegay.

Sydney Kornegay is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Aidemocracy, The Columbia Star, and Observatario Economico. She has a master's degree in International Development and Economics from Fordham University and is the director of adult programming at Refugee Response in Cleveland.