A Minnesota prosecutor announced on Monday that two Minneapolis police officers were justified in using deadly force after they shot and killed a Black man last month, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said that Thurman Blevins did not listen to the officers’ command to stop and to show his hands, and that he was viewed as dangerous.
“Their decision to use deadly force against Mr. Blevins, under those circumstances, was authorized,” Freeman said in a statement to the press after a news conference was abruptly canceled.
Blevins’ family says that he was not a threat and was just sitting with his child.
“He was forced to run away from his family so they wouldn’t shoot him down in his own community in front of his kid,” Blevins’ cousin Sydnee Brown told the Tribune.
On Sunday, Minneapolis released body-camera footage of the incident between Blevins and Officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly.
Schmidt and Kelly responded to a 911 call on June 23 of a man firing a gun in the air. The video shows them pulling up in their vehicle, where they see Blevins sitting on the curb with a woman and child in a stroller.
Officers yell, “He’s got a gun!” and jump out of the cruiser while Blevins runs away.
Schmidt, according to the Tribune, yells, “Put your (expletive) hands up now!” and Kelly screams, “Stop or I’ll shoot!”
Blevins can be heard saying, “I didn’t do nothing, bro,” ”Please don’t shoot” and “Leave me alone” in the footage, per the Tribune.
Blevins is shot while running down an alley.
*Warning* Graphic video below
According to the Tribune, Schmidt told investigators he feared for his life when he saw Blevins remove his gun from his pocket. Kelly reportedly said that he was “pretty sure” Blevins shot at him.
A family friend of Blevins said when Kelly screamed that Blevins had a gun, it was an excuse for him to shoot him.
“He just gave himself a license to shoot Mr. Blevins,” said Jeniffer Rohr, per the Tribune.
A protest about the killing is planned for Tuesday, per the report.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.