Two officers responsible for the shooting death of Thurman Blevins will not face any charges, ABC News reports. On June 23, officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly arrived in a North Minneapolis neighborhood after an anonymous person called 911 and stated an unidentified person was shooting a gun.
Upon their arrival, they identified Blevins as the suspect and began to pursue him on foot. At the time, Blevins was sitting on a curb next to a woman and child, NBC News reports. As the officers approached Blevins, they exclaimed “He’s got a gun!” and Blevins began to run.
As the pursuit continued, the officials allegedly yelled for Blevins, 31, to “drop the fu**ing gun!” and that they would shoot him if he didn’t surrender. The victim was heard on bodycam footage stating “I did nothing” and for the officers to “please don’t shoot.” In a court proceeding, the officers said Blevins reached for a firearm in his waistband. That’s when four of the 14 shots fatally hit Blevins as he was still running.
Local authorities found probable cause for the officers to justifiably shoot Blevins since he didn’t adhere to the officers’ statements and “represented a danger” to their lives, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. When the verdict was announced, protesters took control of a press conference on July 30 to stress the fact that justice has yet to be served. Blevins’ cousin, Sydnee Brown, also spoke with The Star Tribune on her family member’s death. “He didn’t deserve to die. He wasn’t a threat when [the officers] approached him,” Brown said. “They didn’t view him as a human being.”
“Black people are tired of being hunted down like deer!”
— ABC News (@ABC) July 30, 2018
The city’s Mayor Jacob Frey also issued a statement on the matter: “Regardless of the facts and circumstances that took place on the afternoon of June 23, and regardless of how our own life experiences and backgrounds inform the conclusions we draw, let us all recognize one conclusion: a life was lost and that, in and of itself, is a tragedy.”