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17-year-old shot by police now facing charges

By Kim Dacey

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    BALTIMORE, Maryland (WBAL) — A 17-year-old who was shot in the back by police is now facing charges of his own.

On May 11, police said the teen, later identified by family as Mekhi Franklin, ran from an officer and was shot in the back as he pulled a gun from his waistband.

Neighbors in Shipley Hill remember the day well.

“I just remember there being a lot of commotion. When I got to work, yellow tape was up and people were talking about it, then there was a video up on Instagram,” said Eric Palmer.

Police released body camera video they said shows Franklin pulling out a gun before the officer opened fire. Police said they recovered a loaded gun with an extended magazine.

Franklin survived his injuries, but Tuesday, the Public Defenders Office confirmed to 11 News that he was charged with first-degree assault and firearm charges.

“I don’t think it’s right to shoot anybody in the back, no matter the situation, but him being charged wasn’t right, in my opinion,” Palmer said.

“I agree with the firearms-related charges. I don’t know about the assault,” said Dearira Love.

Franklin’s attorney, Robert Linthicum, sent 11 News a statement saying in part, “The charges here do not fully align with the allegations and could be an effort to minimize scrutiny of the officers’ actions.”

Neighbors in southwest Baltimore said the incident is an unfortunate symptom of the larger crime problem in Baltimore.

“I’m not saying the police are justified for shooting him, not at all, but at the same time, that 17-year-old should not have had the gun at all. There shouldn’t be 17-year-old feeling the need to walk around to protect themselves, because that’s all it comes down to. The boy felt like he had to protect himself in this neighborhood,” Love said.

“I hope everything works out for him, you know, I’m just glad he’s not dead,” said Palmer.

Police did not say if the officer involved will face any disciplinary action.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has agreed to represent Franklin’s family free of charge.

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