No Justice for Thurman Blevins

The police officers who fatally shot 31-year-old Thurman Blevins in Minneapolis, Minnesota last month will not be charged.

On June 23, Thurman Blevins — though armed — was running away from police officers, begging them not to shoot him and to leave him alone.

Police opened fire on the fleeing man, and on June 23, Thurman Blevins died.

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Body-cam footage released by the Minneapolis Police Department

This disturbing body-camera footage clearly shows Blevins running away with his back to the police officers who continue to point their weapons at him despite the obvious fact that he does not pose a threat.

Though the officer’s finger is not on the trigger in this frame, the intent is clear even in light of the fact that his target is running away.

Members of the Blevins family disrupted Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s press conference to protest the prosecutors’ decision not to press charges against the officers.

Freeman argued in a statement that Blevins posed a threat to officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly, who were responding to calls about a drunk man in public shooting his gun into the air.

He also claimed that Blevins turned to officers with his weapon in hand.

“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. Their decision to use deadly force against Mr. Blevins under those circumstances was authorized by Minn. Stat. § 609.066 and as such there is no basis to issue criminal charges against either officer.”  — Freeman

Apparently, there were roughly 40 seconds between the time that officers reported seeing Blevins holding a gun and the point at which shots were fired.

And according to Minneapolis Public Radio, the district attorney confirmed that Blevins’ weapon had indeed been fired, but that there was not enough evidence to suggest that he had aimed the shots at the officers.

“We can tell that the gun was fired three times. I cannot tell you that there is sufficient proof that he, in fact, lined it up and shot at the officers.”

However, Freeman argues that the officers returned fire because they were under the impression that Blevins had fired at them.

“Us black people, every fucking year, we are here looking for justice, and we are tired of watching these snuff movies from the Minneapolis Police Department. And I’m here to tell y’all that we’re tired of it.”  — Protester at Freeman’s press conference

Minnesota is also where Philando Castile was infamously shot in his own car in front of his daughter and girlfriend after alerting officers to the fact that he was a registered gun owner and that there was a weapon in the car.

His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, famously streamed the incident on Facebook Live.

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