Protesters call for arrest, firing of Minneapolis officers in shooting death

Published 9:57 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS — Activists and family members of a black man who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police last month said Tuesday that the officers should be fired and they continued to call for the officers’ arrest — a day after a prosecutor announced that he was declining to file charges.

Roughly 300 people gathered for a protest at the Hennepin County Government Center on Tuesday evening. They held signs calling for justice for Thurman Blevins, who was shot June 23 by Minneapolis officers after they chased him into an alley in north Minneapolis.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Monday the actions of Officers Ryan Kelly and Justin Schmidt were justified because Blevins, 31, was armed, disregarded police commands and turned toward police with a loaded gun.

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Blevins’ family members said he wasn’t a danger while he was running away. His sister, Darlynn Blevins, said her brother “ran for his life” because he was scared and the officer “emptied his clip into my brother’s back.”

Sydnee Brown, Blevins’ cousin, said Thurman Blevins “was not an evil man walking the earth.”

The protesters also shouted that Freeman “needs to go.”

The officers were responding to a 911 call of a man firing a gun into the air. Body camera video released Sunday shows Schmidt and Kelly pulling their cruiser up and Blevins seated on a curb near a woman with a child in a stroller. As the officers pull up, one says, “He’s got a gun!” and they jump from the squad car. The officers chase Blevins and shout at him to put his hands up or they will shoot. Blevins says, “Please don’t shoot” and “Leave me alone.”

An enhanced version of the videos has a red circle drawn around what appears to be a gun in Blevins’ right hand. The video shows it come into view as he looks over his left shoulder at the officers, before he is shot.