Family: Minneapolis police shooting not justified as man ran

Published 07-09-2018

0 Ratings

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Relatives of a black man fatally shot by Minneapolis police called for criminal charges against two officers Monday, saying they believe the killing wasn't justified because he posed no threat while running away.

Thurman Blevins Jr., 31, was shot and killed June 23 after Officers Ryan Kelly and Justin Schmidt chased him on foot for a few blocks into a north Minneapolis alley. The state agency investigating the shooting confirmed that Kelly and Ryan both fired their guns while responding to a 911 call of a man firing a handgun into the air and the ground.

Police said they recovered a gun from the scene, but some witnesses said Blevins was carrying a bottle or a cup.

Activist Mel Reeves said he's planning a community meeting Wednesday about the killing of Blevins, who was known as "Jun." He was joined by Blevins' sister, aunt and cousin, who have called for greater transparency in the investigation and for the dismissal of the officers, who remain on paid leave.

"The family doesn't understand, nor the community, how a person running away from the police was a threat," Reeves said. "We feel like Jun should still be alive and that he should not have been shot in the back."

An autopsy found Blevins was shot multiple times, but it did not say where he was hit.

The head of the police union has said Blevins ignored commands to drop the gun and pulled it out before the officers fired. Family members said officers should have approached Blevins differently when they responded.

News of the shooting has rocked family members, who described Blevins as he was known in the neighborhood, as funny and outgoing.

"He was at the beginning of his life," said Blevins' sister, Darlynn. "That was taken away from him."

His funeral is scheduled for later this week.

Mayor Jacob Frey has called for the release of body camera footage after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension completes interviews with key witnesses and consults with the family. The timing of the video's release has not been set, but such a release would deviate from past police shootings in Minnesota because investigative data – including video – is typically not made public before the conclusion of an investigation.

Minneapolis has a history of high-profile fatal police

The head of the police union has said Blevins ignored commands to drop the gun and pulled it out before the officers fired. Family members said officers should have approached Blevins differently when they responded.

News of the shooting has rocked family members, who described Blevins as he was known in the neighborhood, as funny and outgoing.

"He was at the beginning of his life," said Blevins' sister, Darlynn. "That was taken away from him."

His funeral is scheduled for later this week.

Mayor Jacob Frey has called for the release of body camera footage after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension completes interviews with key witnesses and consults with the family. The timing of the video's release has not been set, but such a release would deviate from past police shootings in Minnesota because investigative data – including video – is typically not made public before the conclusion of an investigation.

Minneapolis has a history of high-profile fatal police shootings in recent years, including the November 2015 shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark and last July's shooting of 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond . The officers in the Clark case were not charged. A trial is pending for the officer who shot Damond.

___

For the latest developments on relatives demanding charges against two Minneapolis police officers in the fatal shooting of Thurman Blevins Jr.: https://bit.ly/2NDXvBA

"He was at the beginning of his life," said Blevins' sister, Darlynn. "That was taken away from him."

His funeral is scheduled for later this week.

Mayor Jacob Frey has called for the release of body camera footage after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension completes interviews with key witnesses and consults with the family. The timing of the video's release has not been set, but such a release would deviate from past police shootings in Minnesota because investigative data – including video – is typically not made public before the conclusion of an investigation.

Minneapolis has a history of high-profile fatal police shootings in recent years, including the November 2015 shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark and last July's shooting of 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond . The officers in the Clark case were not charged. A trial is pending for the officer who shot Damond.

___

For the latest developments on relatives demanding charges against two Minneapolis police officers in the fatal shooting of Thurman Blevins Jr.: https://bit.ly/2NDXvBA

No comments found. Sign up or Login to rate and review content.

A memorial is set up in the alley where Thurman Blevins was killed by a Minneapolis police officer earlier in the week, in Minneapolis, Monday, June 25, 2018. Some community members are disputing authorities' account that the black man had a gun before he was fatally shot by Minneapolis police, but a man who heard the shooting and saw the immediate aftermath said he saw a firearm near Thurman Blevins Jr.'s hand. The differing narratives prompted community leaders and officials to call for the swift release of body camera footage. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP) - The Associated Press


Sydney Brown, the cousin of Thurman Blevins, is joined other family members and activists Monday, July 9, 2018, to call for criminal charges against two Minneapolis police officers who fatally shot Blevins on June 23, 2018. Looking on are community activist Mel Reeves, left, and Blevins' aunt Jeanette Blevins, right. (AP Photo/Youssef Rddad) - The Associated Press