Tray Franklin (pictured), a 20-year-old college student with a promising future in boxing was gunned down in Brownsville, Brooklyn and his coach says ‘Stop and Frisk‘ could have possibly saved him, the New York Daily News reports.
Franklin was playing dice with two of friends last Thursday night when a group of men walked through their game, prompting the young boxer to inquire, “‘Yo, wassup with that?’ ” One of the men pulled a gun and shot Franklin and his two buddies. They survived. He didn’t. And, just like that, Franklin became another Black male whose life was taken senselessly by gun violence.
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His boxing coach, a Pat Russo, a former NYPD narcotics detective, trained Franklin through a program called Cops and Kids Boxing. He said that Franklin was a hard-working kid who went to school during the day, worked at night and squeezed in gym time. He was eliminated after his third fight in last year’s Golden Gloves boxing competition, but soon returned to the gym because, Russo says, Franklin knew that “turning failure into harder work would bring eventual success.”
“I challenge the (Charles) Barrons, (Hakeem) Jeffries and the (Rev. Al) Sharptons,” says Russo. “Do something! Tray Franklin can’t be just another black teen shot dead in the ghetto. It’s gotta stop. I was a cop in Brooklyn when the Colombo crime family had street wars. We stopped and frisked every known gangster. We tapped their phones. If this punk had been stopped and frisked that night, Tray would be alive. This isn’t about race any more than stopping Mafia guys was anti-Italian. It’s about stopping the goddamned senseless shootings!”
Franklin earned a $1,000 scholarship from the Daily News to help him pay for his studies. Here are some of the words he wrote in the essay that won him the award:
“I have always wanted to attend college outside New York City. Aside from receiving a good education, I would be able to broaden my horizons and experience new forms of culture. One of my teachers told me that the reason we learn about all these different places we might never visit, like Egypt or the Pacific Ocean, is because in life you have to make adjustments and be flexible. If you’re not used to changes in school, how are you going to face them in life?”
“This scholarship would help me set myself up with a Plan A and a Plan B. If my career as a boxer doesn’t flourish, I would have an education to fall back on.”
Russo says Franklin was a “genuinely tough” young man who laced up his gloves to work himself into a better life. As for the thug who shot Franklin dead and those who criticize “Stop and Frisk,” this is what Russo has to say:
“This punk shooter will be caught and spend his life in jail,” he says. “And Tray is dead. Two senselessly wasted lives. And some people want to blame the cops who stop and frisk to get the goddamned guns off the street? Get real.”