A jury found that Indiana police officers violated a Black man’s constitutional rights when they mistakenly beat and tasered him in his home, but awarded just $18 in damages, The Washington Post reports.
Back in 2012, the police were looking for DeShawn Franklin’s brother during a domestic violence complaint. Franklin’s mother answered the door, when White officers barged in without a warrant or permission to enter. They entered Franklin’s bedroom, where the 18-year-old high school student was sleeping. The officers punched, kicked, and tasered him.
“I didn’t even know what was going on. I was just asleep,” Franklin told The Post. “It was just all a big shock and disturbance.”
The Post said although the officers realized they were arresting the wrong person, they handcuffed Franklin anyway.
Franklin and his parents filed a civil rights lawsuit. The jury found that although the police officers’ actions were illegal, the family would receive a bare minimum in damages.
Russell Thomas Jr., Franklin’s nephew, told the newspaper 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?”
“It’s traumatizing,” Franklin told The Post. “It’s somewhat of a burden that you have to carry every day.”
An internal investigation found that the officer indeed used excessive force and entered the home unlawfully.
The attorney representing the officers told the newspaper that the case is about a lack of evidence—not racial injustice. Consequently, the lawyer said, the jury awarded the default amount of $1 for unlawful entry and $1 for unlawful seizure.
SOURCE: Washington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty