Jack Franqui suicide timeline The events leading up to and after 26-year-old Jack Franqui killed himself while in a Suffolk jail cell.

01 December 2011

Franqui following the Dec. 2011 arrest. Photo credit: Anthony Grandinette

Franqui discharges weapon in struggle with police

Suffolk police arrest Jack Franqui at his home after responding to a 911 call that he was suicidal. During a struggle, Franqui’s gun goes off and a bullet hits the ceiling. An officer reports that Franqui fired the gun at him, though Franqui is never charged with attempted murder and is ultimately convicted of second-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon. Unable to make bail, he remains jailed until he is released on probation in December 2013.

09 January 2013

Police raid his father's house

Police and a probation officer raid Franqui’s father's house, where Franqui is staying in the garage. Officers find a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and a slingshot Franqui said he had since he was a child. He is charged with felony possession of a weapon for the slingshot. He spends nine days in jail.

23 January 2013

DAY OF SUICIDE

Franqui, driving a recently purchased, rusted 1972 Cadillac Eldorado, visits his friend, Simon Earl, at Earl’s house in Shoreham.

10:30 am - 10:45 am

DAY OF SUICIDE

A nearby resident spots Franqui and Earl in the old Cadillac. Thinking "something was not right," he calls 911 to report a suspicious vehicle.

11:12 am

Franqui is pictured with his dog in an undated photo. Credit: Franqui family

DAY OF SUICIDE

Suffolk County police officer Karen Grenia responds to the call. When she learns that the Cadillac is registered to Franqui, she holds Franqui at gunpoint. By Grenia's count, 10 to 15 officers respond to the scene to assist her. Although they have no warrant, police enter Earl’s home and search it, finding nothing illegal. Franqui is arrested on misdemeanor charges, including driving while high on marijuana and resisting arrest, and suffers multiple injuries during the arrest. Grenia reports that Franqui ordered his "Pinscher" to attack her, and Lt. John "Jack" Fitzpatrick publicly lauds Grenia’s "quick instincts" in thwarting an attack by Franqui’s "Doberman." Franqui's dog -- named Dog -- is actually a Manchester terrier, small enough to ride on the bow of his kayak.

2:25 pm

The detention area is shown on June 8, 2000. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

DAY OF SUICIDE

Franqui is locked in a holding cell at the Seventh Precinct in Shirley. An officer’s activity log notes that Franqui is "being treated for antianxiety but doesn't need medication at this time."

2:45 pm - 3:00 pm

DAY OF SUICIDE

An unnamed officer confiscates a blanket that Franqui was tying to the bars. John Burke is placed two cells away from Franqui's. They are the only two jailed in that area of the facility, which has eight cells. Franqui and Burke, who can see each other in the reflective domes of the jail security cameras facing their cells, strike up a conversation. Franqui tells Burke the police have unfairly targeted him and unnecessarily beat him. He threatens to “hang up.”

5:35 pm

DAY OF SUICIDE

Franqui's mother calls the precinct and says her son is being "harassed" by police. She asks to speak to her son or a precinct commander. Sgt. Kevin O'Reilly, the desk supervisor, tells Franqui’s mother that she can speak with her son the next day and hangs up on her, later reporting that she was “belligerent."

5:40 pm

Simeone leaves the Suffolk PD Property Bureau in Yaphank, Sept. 28, 2015. Credit: Ed Betz

DAY OF SUICIDE

Officer Joseph Simeone is responsible for checking on Franqui. It's recorded on an activity log that Franqui's T-shirt is confiscated because he was tying it to his cell bars.

6:25 pm

DAY OF SUICIDE

Desk officers discover that Franqui is dead after he tied his jeans to the bars of his cell and hung himself.

7:00 pm

DAY OF SUICIDE

Homicide detectives arrive at the precinct to investigate Franqui's death. They interview Burke, who tells them that Franqui had repeatedly threatened to kill himself, that officers had confiscated Franqui’s shirt to stop a previous apparent suicide attempt and that officers had ignored Franqui’s requests for medical attention. Burke also states that Franqui had shown other signs of erratic behavior, such as banging his head against the wall and dunking his head in the cell toilet. Burke reports that when he saw Franqui hang himself, he screamed for officers and gestured wildly in the hopes that officers would see him on the closed-circuit security cameras. Homicide detectives discovered that officers at the precinct had switched off the intercom system that allows them to monitor sounds in the cell and that the volume on the TV they were watching had been turned up.

24 January 2013

The official account

In newspaper stories published the day following Franqui's death, Fitzpatrick is quoted as saying that Franqui was calm and that there was "no indication he was suicidal." Franqui’s family receives no other information.

22 March 2013

Burke is pictured in a mugshot taken Jan. 23, 2013. Credit: SCPD

Fellow prisoner calls Franqui's father

Burke is released from jail and he reads Fitzpatrick’s quote about Franqui’s suicide. He contacts Franqui’s father, who he has never met before, to tell him that Fitzpatrick lied and to give him a full account of what he witnessed. Franqui’s father contacts an attorney.

09 April 2013

Officer performs traffic stop on witness

Grenia pulls over Earl, Franqui's friend who witnessed his arrest, allegedly for not using a turn signal. Grenia acknowledges in sworn testimony that she called for backup, had Earl patted down, took his cell phone from him and entered the back seat of his vehicle. She also acknowledges that after Franqui’s death, she had driven her squad car into Earl’s family's driveway to record license plate numbers. In a lawsuit, Earl's family claims that she was attempting to intimidate him because he had witnessed the Franqui incident. Earl’s turn signal violation is dismissed by a judge.

18 June 2013

State commission criticizes handling of similar death

The New York State Commission of Correction issues a report critical of how Suffolk law enforcement officials handled the death of another inmate, Daniel McDonnell, in a police precinct facility. McDonnell, who suffocated in a struggle with officers, suffered a "preventable death," the report states. The commission found that inmates said officers ignored McDonnell’s requests for medical attention and did not conduct the required inmate checks. The commission also criticized Suffolk police for not conducting a "comprehensive internal investigation" and Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota's office for failing to "conduct any investigation of this incident even though it was ruled a homicide and no investigative findings were ever brought before an independent grand jury to determine whether the use of force was justified and lawful." Spota calls the commission’s report "inaccurate and baseless."

29 October 2013

Franqui's family files suit

Franqui's family files a federal lawsuit against Suffolk County and its police department, claiming that Franqui was beaten by police, arrested on trumped-up charges and allowed to die in police custody.

08 January 2014

DA convenes special grand jury

Spota convenes a special grand jury to investigate Franqui's death, 350 days after the incident and the immediate homicide investigation which suggested culpability by officers. Spota grants immunity to Simeone and O'Reilly in exchange for their testimony, ensuring that the officers cannot be criminally prosecuted.

18 July 2014

Officer Simeone gets blamed

SCPD officials testify before the grand jury that Simeone erred in not documenting that he had confiscated a blanket from Franqui in the earlier suicide attempt, an incident about which Simeone had not informed homicide detectives.

21 July 2014

Simeone interviewed by Internal Affairs

SCPD's Internal Affairs Bureau officers interview Simeone for the first time concerning Franqui's death. Though the special grand jury ultimately recommends Simeone's "removal or disciplinary action as prescribed by law," no officer is fired as a result of Franqui's death. Instead, Simeone is transferred to the property bureau.

12 September 2014

Grand jury issues reports

The special grand jury issues two reports, calling Franqui's suicide "preventable" and blaming officer misconduct and neglect for his death. The reports propose a wide range of reforms, including maintaining precinct video recordings, recording desk officers, mandating that the intercom between the cells and the desk not be switched off, and measures aimed at the better handling of mentally ill prisoners. Although they are public records, the reports have not been shared with the public until now.

02 December 2015

Read Part 2

John Burke was two cells away from Franqui when he committed suicide. On the day Burke was released, he called Franqui’s dad and told him the cops had lied. Read Part 2 here