In the News: Rachel Moran on Hennepin County Prosecutor Mary Moriarty and the 2013 Police Killing of Terrance Franklin

Rachel Moran, professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, recently spoke with Time magazine about the potential for reopening a case from 2013 involving a Minneapolis police officer who killed a 22-year-old Black man, Terrance Franklin.

From the story:

Moriarty, a longtime public defender, rode the wave of revulsion into the prosecutor’s office. She succeeded Mike Freeman, the prosecutor who originally cleared the five officers present at Franklin’s 2013 death, and who eight years later vowed to revisit the case, after a TIME investigation surfaced untruths and contradictions in the police account. But though his office was reported to be in negotiations with at least two officers seeking immunity in exchange for testimony about the shooting, Freeman left office without taking action.

Moriarty had long been critical of Freeman for his handling of police shootings, and won handily over a strong candidate, Barbara Holton Dimick, a Black former judge and prosecutor who emphasized rising crime. Moriarty’s first five months in office have been rocky. But Rachel Moran, a St. Thomas University School of Law associate professor who specializes in police accountability, noted that the biggest controversy – over the new prosecutor’s decision to reduce the penalty facing a pair of underage murder suspects, citing, among other things, studies of brain development – was in line with the principles she ran on.

“I have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes, but I think her position so far has been essentially Mary living out the things that she campaigned on,” Moran says. “If I had to guess, she’s got people looking into it [the Franklin case], but she knows she really, really wants to have her ducks in a row.”