A memorial site for Thurman Blevins is seen on June 24, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Blevins, 31, was shot and killed yesterday after an altercation with Minneapolis Police.
Photo: Stephen Maturen (Getty Images)

Updated: Monday, July 30, 2018; 2:02 p.m. EDT: Surprising absolutely no one, the Minneapolis police officers who gunned down a fleeing black man back in June will not be charged in his death.

On Sunday, body camera footage of the fatal shooting of Thurman Blevins was released, showing officers repeatedly threatening to shoot Blevins if he didn’t stop running.


“Stop, stop! Put your hands up,” Officers shouted as they pursued Blevins. “I will fucking shoot you!”

As he ran, Blevins attempted to plead with officers.

“Please don’t shoot,” he could be heard yelling back. “Leave me alone.”

He was shot multiple times as he tried to run away. A protest was planned for Tuesday afternoon at the Hennepin County Government Center to demonstrate against what the community sees as another unjustified shooting against a black man who was not an immediate threat.

However, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said that the officers would not face charges, saying that the shooting was justified, according to the New York Daily News.

“When Mr. Blevins fled from the officers with a loaded handgun, refused to follow their commands for him to stop and show his hands and then took the gun out of his pocket and turned toward the officers, Mr. Blevins represented a danger to the lives of Officer Schmidt and Officer Kelly,” Freeman said in a statement. “Their decision to use deadly force against Mr. Blevins, under those circumstances, was authorized [under the law].”



Minneapolis police have released body camera footage from two officers involved in the fatal shooting of 31-year-old Thurman Blevins — showing Blevins being shot in the back after fleeing from police.


The video, which was released on Sunday, shows Officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly pulling their cruiser up to Blevins, who was seated on a curb near a woman with a child in a stroller. The officers were in the area responding to a 911 about a man firing a gun in the air on June 23, the Associated Press notes.

As the officers pull up, one can be heard urgently claiming “he’s got a gun!” At that point, Blevins starts to run away from the officers (the full, raw footage from the body cameras can be found here).


“Stop, stop! Put your hands up,” Officers shouted as they pursued Blevins.

“I will fucking shoot you!” Schmidt can be heard yelling.

Throughout the chase, Blevins attempted to plead with the officers.

“Please don’t shoot,” he could be heard yelling back. “Leave me alone.”

“I didn’t do nothing bro,” Blevins shouts.

“You’ve got a gun...” Schmidt responds back.

“I don’t,” Blevins insisted.

“Yes, you do,” Schmit repeated. “Put it down.”

Less than a minute into the chase, Schmidt started shooting and Blevins goes down. As the officers get closer, what appears to be a small handgun can be seen lying on the ground next to Blevin’s hand. Minneapolis has released an “enhanced” version of the footage, where they circled the gun that Blevins was carrying at the time of the shooting.


The gun that Blevins was apparently carrying at the time has been the source of contention. Police have maintained that he was armed during the encounter, whereas some witnesses have insisted he didn’t have a weapon.

Blevins was shot multiple times. Both officers fired their weapons.

Blevins’ cousin, Sydnee Brown, told the Star Tribune that the video shows that Blevins was not a threat to police.


“He didn’t deserve to die,” Brown said. “He wasn’t a threat when [the officers] approached him. They didn’t view him as a human being.”

“Officers Ryan Kelly and Justin Schmidt should be fired without pay and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” she added, according to KSTP.


However, Schmidt’s lawyer, Kevin Short, saw something else from the video.

“It’s gratifying to know the actions of the officers were justified. Hopefully, the public learned a lesson to wait for all the facts and video to come out before vilifying officers,” he told KSTP.


Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has declined to offer any official comment on the videos, but acknowledged that the footage was “traumatic.”

“Regardless of the circumstances and facts that took place on the afternoon of June 23rd, and regardless of how our own life experiences and backgrounds inform the conclusions that we draw, let us all recognize one conclusion,” he said. “A life was lost and that, in and of itself, is a tragedy.”


According to the Associated Press, Kelly and Schmidt have been with the police department since 2013 and 2014 respectively. Both have been recognized multiple times for their work as officers, however, both have also had complaints lobbed against them. Kelly has had five complaints in the past, which were all closed without disciplinary action, while Schmidt has had three complains, including two that were closed without discipline and one that is still open. The details of those complaints have not been released.

The two officers are currently on paid administrative leave.

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi

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