MINNEAPOLIS – Activists and relatives of a black man who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police last month said Tuesday that the officials should be fired and they continued to call for the police arrest — a day after a prosecutor announced that he was declining to file charges.
About 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 in 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, ignored the police commands, and turned in the direction of the police with a loaded gun.
Blevins’ family members said that he’s not a danger while he is absent. His sister, Darlynn Blevins, said her brother “ran for his life” because he was afraid, that the officer “emptied his clip in my brother’s back.”
Sydnee Brown, Blevins’ cousin, said Thurman Blevins “was not a evil man on earth.”
The protesters also shouted that Freeman “should go.”
The officers were responding to a 911 call of a man firing a gun in the air. Body camera video released Sunday shows Schmidt and Kelly pull their cruiser and Blevins, sitting on a curb near a woman with a child in a stroller. If the officers withdraw, it is said, “He has a gun!” and they jump out of the patrol car. The officers chase Blevins and yelling at him to get his hands up or they will shoot. Blevins says, “Please don’t shoot” and “Leave me alone.”
An improved version of the videos is a red circle drawn around what looks like a gun in Blevins’ right hand. The video shows that it will come into view as he looks over his shoulder at the officers, before he is shot.