No charges in fatal 2020 shooting by off-duty Cleveland police officer

CLEVELAND (AP) — No charges were brought by a grand jury against a Cleveland police officer who shot and killed a man last year while off-duty, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said Friday.

Desmond Franklin, 22, was killed on April 9 in an altercation with off-duty Cleveland officer Jose Garcia that investigators say began when Garcia saw Franklin and a 17-year-old teen steal two cases of soda from a delivery truck parked at a convenience story.

After Garcia exchanged words with Franklin, he drove off and Franklin followed him, according to the attorney general’s investigation. Franklin pulled alongside and pointed a gun at him and Garcia then fired five times, hitting Franklin in the head and killing him almost immediately, the investigation found.

Yost called Franklin’s death a tragedy, but added: “His death under the law is not the result of a criminal act.”

Under current law, prosecutors couldn’t prove that the shooting wasn’t a case of Garcia defending himself, the attorney general said.

The shooting was not investigated as a police shooting because Garcia was off-duty at the time.

Last year, attorneys for Franklin said the victim never flashed a gun or threatened the officer. Police say investigators found a gun in Franklin’s car.