Indianola Officer Tased, Choked, Pointed Gun At Handcuffed Man, Lawsuit Alleges

A Sunflower County man is alleging that an Indianola Police Officer tased, choked and pointed a gun at him while he was in handcuffs. Photo courtesy Carlos Moore

Kelvin Franklin, a 33-year-old U.S. Army staff sergeant from Sunflower County, Miss., is alleging in a federal lawsuit that he was handcuffed when an Indianola Police officer pointed a gun at him, tased him repeatedly and choked him in December 2022.

The officer, Greg Capers, has been suspended from the department without pay since June after he shot 11-year-old Aderrien Murry in the chest at the boy’s home in May 2023 (an attorney for Capers said in June that he “did not mean to”). That shooting has no relation to Franklin’s case.

Click here to read Kelvin Franklin’s Aug. 28, 2023, complaint against Greg Capers, the City of Indianola and Indianola Police Chief Ronald Sampson.

Carlos Moore, the attorney who is representing Murry and his family in a civil lawsuit and in an effort to pursue criminal charges against Capers, is also representing Franklin in his case. The complaint lists Greg Capers, the City of Indianola, Police Chief Ronald Sampson and five unnamed officers identified only as “John Does 1-5” as defendants.

In an interview with the Mississippi Free Press this morning, Moore noted that the incident with Franklin occurred five months before the one with Murry, who survived after being hospitalized.

“Mr. Franklin’s case preceded Mr. Murry’s case, and so the City of Indianola had notice that Greg Capers was an ever-present threat and danger to the citizens of Indianola,” said Moore. “They knew he had a propensity to utilize excessive force. They did not punish him for what he did to Kelvin Franklin, and an 11-year-old was shot by Greg Capers several months subsequent to that.”

Neither Capers, the City of Indianola, Sampson nor the five unidentified officers have responded to the claims in the lawsuit and Moore said summonses have not yet been served but “that is in the works.” The Indianola Police Department did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

‘I Haven’t Done Anything For You To Shoot Me’

Carlos Moore said Kelvin Franklin retained him in February—before the Aderrien Murry shooting. The staff sergeant’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi’s Greenville Division on Aug. 28, 2023, says the plaintiff was returning to Indianola from Camp Shelby in Forrest County, Miss., with his then-fiancé’s cousin around 7:46 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2022, when they arrived at the residence where his fiancé was.

“Once Plaintiff arrived to the residence, he exited the vehicle but forgot to get his parking decal from inside of the vehicle,” the filing says. “At this time, Plaintiff tried to stop the car so that he could retrieve his parking decal from inside. As Plaintiff was attempting to retrieve his items from the vehicle, his finacé misjudged the circumstances and called 911. This dispatcher was yet another relative of Plaintiff’s fiancé, who then directed Defendant Officer Capers to the residence.”

Greg Gapers in police uniform and cap
The City of Indianola suspended Officer Greg Capers, pictured, without pay in June 2023 following the May 2023 shooting of 11-year-old Aderrien Murry. Photo courtesy Carlos Moore

Moore told the Mississippi Free Press that he did not know what Franklin’s fiancé thought was happening when she called 911, but that the two have since ended their engagement and split up.

“Upon the arrival of Defendant Officer Capers, Plaintiff informed him that he was only there to retrieve his bag because he was heading back to Camp Shelby as soon as possible,” the filing continues. “Furthermore, Mr. Franklin informed Defendant Officer Capers and Doe that he was carrying a firearm. Defendant Officer Doe took possession of Plaintiff’s firearm, but Plaintiff was still denied permission to leave. Instead, he was placed in handcuffs by Officer Doe.

“Suddenly, Defendant Officer Capers withdrew his firearm and directed it towards Plaintiff. Plaintiff stated, ‘Why would you want to shoot me. I haven’t done anything for you to shoot me.’ Defendant Officer Capers put the gun back in his holster and grabbed his taser. While Plaintiff was detained in handcuffs, Defendant Officer Capers tased him three to four times on the false pretense of resisting arrest, despite Mr. Franklin already being detained. Defendant Officer Capers also choked Plaintiff while he was detained in handcuffs.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Franklin “alerted Defendant Officer Capers” and another unnamed officer “that he was experiencing pain and only had use of one kidney.”

“Mr. Franklin and his condition was deliberately ignored, and he was transported to the Sunflower County Jail where paramedics evaluated him but no treatment was administered,” the filing says. “Mr. Franklin was released from jail the following day, and he went to Forrest General Hospital (in Hattiesburg, Miss.,) where he learned that he was dehydrated.” The lawsuit also alleges that Franklin “suffered trauma to the neck, right hand, stomach, and body.”

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating Franklin’s 4th Amendment rights “to be free from excessive force” and 14th Amendment rights “to substantive due process without intentional exposure to known danger.”

‘You’re Fixing To Get It Again’

Carlos Moore shared dimly lit footage that he said a bystander filmed on the night of the Kelvin Franklin’s arrest in December 2022, noting that it shows events that happened before those described in the complaint. The video shows Franklin standing in the street with his hands spread out at his side as an officer tases him; he then appears to double over with a hand on his stomach before collapsing on the ground where an officer attempts to handcuff him while the man repeatedly screams, though his words are not discernible.

“That’s bullshit, that man ain’t did shit,” the man filmed the footage, who Moore did not identify, can be heard saying in the recording as blue lights flash on the street.

“Put your hands behind your back, you’re fixing to get it again,” an officer can be heard saying just before tasing Franklin again while he screams and writhes on his side on the street. Moore said his client identified the officer tasing him in the video as Capers, though the Mississippi Free Press could not determine the officer’s identity from the low-quality video.

Moore told the Mississippi Free Press that Franklin was screaming in the video because of his health condition. “He only has one kidney and was in extreme pain after being tasered,” the attorney said.

The officers in the video can be heard repeatedly telling Franklin to “get up” and can be seen tugging on the collapsed man’s shirt. The video does not show all the events described in the lawsuit, though.

“What you won’t see on the video is they tasered after he was in the handcuffs. They made the (person recording) move out of the way,” Moore told the Mississippi Free Press.

The attorney said body camera footage exists that he believes will show the full story and that he expects to obtain the videos during discovery.

Franklin is currently in Kuwait where he has been since being deployed in May. Moore said his client will return within a few weeks and they will hold a joint press conference together when he does. For now, the attorney said, the case is only a civil matter.

“Mr. Franklin has not filed criminal charges against him as of yet,” Moore said. “That is still an option but he has not filed any paperwork against him as of yet. He is too busy serving his country right now.”


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