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Traffic stop yields felony drug, misdemeanor charges against activist Keedran Franklin

Keedran Franklin (Photo: Karanja A. Ajanaku)

Well-known Memphis activist Keedran Franklin walked out of the jail complex at 201 Poplar with dozens waiting for him late Saturday night after his arrest on multiple drug and driving charges.

The charges include possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana (with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell), driving on a revoked or suspended license, resisting official detention, improper display of registration and operating a car with reflectorized windows.

According to Memphis police, Franklin was driving with very dark tinted windows on Sharpe Ave. and Robin Hood Lane around 6:30 p.m. on Friday. After initiating a traffic stop, an officer noticed the vehicle license plate had a frame over it blocking key registration information.

The arresting officer reported that he detected the strong smell of marijuana coming from the car as he told Franklin why he was stopped. A check determined that Franklin’s license had been suspended since February 2017 for failure to pay a previous traffic violation.

After detectives asked Franklin to step out of the car, officers say he refused at first, but got out when asked a second time. As officers tried to cuff Franklin, he began to resist, police said.

Franklin was taken into custody after a brief, getting a small scratch on his left elbow.

Upon searching the car, MPD officers said they discovered 114.7 grams of marijuana and 19 grams of mushrooms in containers and plastic bags. They also reported finding $690 in cash: $190 in the car, $500 on Franklin.

Bond was set at $3,000, which was paid by friends and fellow activists, who rallied for his release Saturday evening.

 “I think they are trying to take down a local activist who’s bringing about active change because it threatens their power,” fellow activist Hunter Dempster said.

 Franklin has been a high-profile participant in several local protests, including the “die-in” on Mayor Jim Strickland’s lawn in December 2016. He was scheduled for court hearing on Monday, July 9.

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