Kelvin Franklin, seen here holding a “medal commendation” certificate,, has filed a federal abuse-related lawsuit against Ian Indianola officer who is accused of shooting an 11-year-old. Credit: Courtesy of Kelvin Franklin

An active duty Army staff sergeant is accusing an Indianola police officer already under investigation in a separate case of tasing him, choking him and pointing a gun at him while handcuffed in December 2022, according to a federal lawsuit filed last week. 

Kelvin Franklin, 33, made the allegations against Officer Greg Capers, who has been  suspended without pay and faces legal action in a separate incident: the May 2023 shooting of 11-year-old Aderrien Murry

Carlos Moore is representing Franklin and the boy’s family in their respective lawsuits. In both interactions, the attorney said Capers escalated the situation. Capers’ alleged aggressive response came when Franklin arrived at his then-fiance’s house to retrieve a bag and after Aderrien called for help during a domestic situation.

“In both instances I believe both results would have been a lot safer if Greg Capers didn’t arrive at either scene,” Moore said. 

Franklin’s lawsuit asks for a jury trial and for at least $500,000 to be awarded to cover compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and interest. 

Cleveland attorney Michael Carr is representing Capers in proceedings for an aggravated assault charge the boy’s mother filed against the officer and in a $5 million federal lawsuit filed on Aderrien’s behalf. 

Carr declined to comment Thursday because it was the first he had heard about Franklin’s lawsuit. He also doesn’t know if Capers has been served and is aware of the suit, which was filed Aug. 28. 

The city of Indianola, Police Chief Ronald Sampson and five unnamed officers are also named as defendants. The lawsuit alleges Capers’ actions are the result of the city and police chief’s policy and failure to supervise and train officers. 

The city defendants have not responded in writing to the lawsuit, and a representative from the police department did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. 

Sgt. Greg Capers of the Indianola Police Department. Credit: Photo courtesy of Carlos Moore

The night of Dec. 30, 2022, Franklin was traveling home with his then-fiance’s cousin from Camp Shelby to his fiance’s residence in Indianola. 

Once in Indianola, the lawsuit details how, as Franklin exited the car and went back to get a parking decal from inside the car, the fiance misread the situation and called 911. 

Seeing the driveway was blocked, Moore said Franklin approached the cousin about moving their vehicle, and the fiance thought they were arguing. She called the police “out of an abundance of caution,” Moore said.

When Capers and the other officers arrived, Franklin told them he was there to retrieve a bag before returning to Camp Shelby, according to the lawsuit. He also said he had a firearm, which one of the unnamed officers took. 

Capers pulled his gun on Franklin then put it back into the holster only to grab his taser, using it on Franklin up to four times and choking him, according to the lawsuit. 

Franklin told the officers he was in pain and only had one kidney, but his request for medical attention was ignored and he was taken to the Sunflower County Jail, where paramedics evaluated him but didn’t treat him, according to the lawsuit. 

When Franklin was released from jail a day later, he sought treatment at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg because he was in pain and felt sick and weak, Moore said. Franklin had a dehydrated kidney and injuries to his neck, stomach and right hand, according to the lawsuit.

Moore said a bystander who knows Franklin filmed a portion of his encounter with police. 

In the 3 ½-minute video shared with Mississippi Today, blue lights illuminate some of the darkness. Franklin is seen standing with his hands out to the side when an officer tases him. He bends over with a hand on his stomach and then falls to the ground. An officer starts to handcuff him.

The man filming makes several comments as the taser crackles and Franklin cries out. 

“Put your hands behind your back, you’re fixing to get it again,” an officer says right before Franklin is tased. 

The lawsuit alleges Capers acted suddenly when he drew his firearm and pointed it toward Franklin, who questioned the officer: “I haven’t done anything wrong for you to shoot me,” according to the suit. This moment was not captured on video. 

Moore said body camera footage from the officers exists, and he plans to request it through discovery. 

Franklin, who has been deployed in Kuwait since May, has over 16 years of military service, Moore said. Not only did the experience leave him mentally distraught and emotionally drained, but he worried about how the incident could have put his military career in jeopardy. 

“It’s been an ordeal,” Moore said about how his client is doing.

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Mina, a California native, covers the criminal justice system. Before joining Mississippi Today, she was a reporter for the Clarion Ledger and newspapers in Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and USA Today.