CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio’s Attorney General office announced that a grand jury has decided not to indict an off-duty Cleveland police officer in the shooting death of a 22-year-old man last April.
Ohio Attorney General David Yost made the announcement Friday during an online press conference.
“I Pray for comfort for his family and extend my condolences for their grief,” Yost added.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Special Prosecution Unit investigated after Desmond Franklin was shot by off-duty officer Jose Garcia on April 9th as they drove side-by-side on Pearl Road near Riverside Cemetery on the city’s West Side.
It was determined that because Garcia was not acting as a police officer during the shooting the laws common to any citizen self-defense claim apply to this case, Yost said.
The state was not able to prove the the laws of self defense did not apply, according to a representative from Yost’s office.
As a result, the grand jury decided not to indict Garcia.
The grand jury was also presented with specific charges that could be applicable to the case, including purposeful murder, murder as a result of committing a felonious assault, voluntary manslaughter, felonious assault, and aggravated assault, according to a representative from the Attorney General’s Office.
The Cleveland Division of Police will conduct an administrative review investigation now that the criminal case against Garcia has been dropped, according to a statement from the City of Cleveland.
If policy violations are found, the statement said, Garcia could face discipline or termination.
Yost called the shooting a tragedy and said that he prayed for comfort for the family and extended his sincere condolences to Franklin’s family.
“It is a tragedy that Desmond franklin is dead a young life ended too early and I’m saddened by it,” he said.
Franklin’s loved ones have pushed for the officer to be charged.
“I’m still here fighting for my son. It’s been a long nine months,” said Emanuel Franklin. “I just need some clarity and understanding of why they would allow a murderer to go free all this time.”
Garcia claimed Franklin, who was driving with a 17-year-old male passenger, threatened to shoot the officer, who was not wearing his uniform and was not driving a police vehicle.
The Attorney General Dave Yost said that a loaded gun was found in Franklin’s car.
“It doesn’t make it okay for it to last this long. We’ve seen other types of investigations end much sooner, with some finality to [them],” said Franklin family attorney Stanley Jackson.
Jackson has called for murder charges against Garcia, who remains employed by the Cleveland Police Department on restricted duty.
“Anything less would be unacceptable considering the circumstances in which it happened,” Jackson said.
In May, Jackson told 19 News the results of the autopsy showed Franklin was shot once in the right temple, suggesting he was shot while looking forward. Jackson said that suggests he was not actively interacting with the shooter at the time the fatal shot was fired.
That same month, protesters demonstrated outside Mayor Frank Jackson’s home to call for justice and Garcia’s job.
Jackson’s staff declined to comment then as well.
Franklin’s older brother said the past nine months have put an emotional strain on the family.
“It’s just been hard for us, every single one of us. We’ve been trying to take care of his kids,” said Emanuel Franklin, who shares his father’s name.