’If it was one of us, we would’ve been dead or in a jail cell already’: Cleveland family speaks ahead of protest for 22-year-old man shot and killed by off-duty officer

Updated: Jun. 5, 2020 at 4:40 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A disturbing video of the moments a Minnesota man was killed by a police officer has sparked outrage leading to protests and riots across the country, but in our own backyard, a local family is fighting for justice for their family member who was killed by an off-duty Cleveland police officer.

It’s been nearly two months since 22-year-old Desmond Franklin was shot and killed by off-duty police officer Jose Garcia.

"We can't eat, we can't sleep at night,” said Knovisha Franklin, Desmond’s twin sister. “It's messing us up."

Knovisha says she won't give up the fight for her brother.

"We here to get justice for him for the simple fact that we can't get answers,” she said.

On Saturday afternoon hundreds of people will rally for justice outside of the second district police station, where that off-duty officer worked. Black Lives Matter Cleveland is organizing the protest. It starts at 2 p.m.

"I feel ambitious, like, it just gives me a lot of ambition, and a lot more strength, like, with all this going on. Justice will be served one day and it will be soon,” said Quavon Franklin, Desmond’s brother.

Franklin was shot by Garcia as the two drove side by side on Pearl Road near Riverside cemetery on the city’s West Side.

Garcia claimed Franklin threatened to shoot the officer, who was not wearing his uniform and was not driving a police vehicle.

Cleveland police released very little information after the incident, and it remains unclear if a gun was found in or around the car Franklin was driving. One of Franklin’s attorneys said they have reviewed surveillance video of the incident and there is nothing in the video that shows Franklin with a gun or threatening the officer.

“I want it on Mayor Frank Jackson’s desk, and I want it on Chief Williams desk, and I want a conviction, and I want justice, and I want everything taken from him because I feel like everything has been taken from me,” Quavon said.

Franklin's siblings want Garcia off the street.

“If it was one of us, we would’ve been dead or in a jail cell already, so there’s no reason why this man should be at home chilling with his family, eating with his family,” said Ashilie Franklin, Desmond’s sister. “My brother left four kids, his smallest one is 3 years old. There’s no reason why he should’ve been shot and killed by this officer."

Cuyahoga County has hired a special prosecutor to handle the shooting investigation. Officer Garcia was placed on leave pending the investigation.

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