BODYCAM: Thurman Blevins Shooting

By Calibre Press  |   Jul 30, 2018

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: 

Minneapolis police body-camera video released Sunday night shows officers repeatedly warning an armed Thurman Blevins to put his hands up as they chased him through a North Side residential neighborhood last month and then fatally shot him in an alley.

The dramatic imagery, slowed down and stabilized by a California forensic video firm, shows the 31-year-old Blevins with a handgun and running from police. The video appears to show the gun in Blevins’ hand shortly before shots were fired.

The release of the video so soon after the shooting comes as police departments in the Twin Cities and beyond cope with public backlash over the shooting of men of color during encounters with officers. In this and other shootings, activists have demanded rapid release of police bodycam video, believing the images will reveal that officers are too quick to shoot suspects.

The death of Blevins, who was black, at the hands of white officers in a residential alley in the 4700 block between Aldrich and Bryant avenues N. sparked tensions and protests, as have police killings of other black men in recent years in the Twin Cities.

In the footage, the officers who pursued Blevins late in the afternoon on June 23 sound somewhat calm as they drive quickly toward the scene, responding to a 911 call about a man firing a gun. They pull up to Blevins and immediately notice the gun tucked in his shorts. He stands up and runs.

Officer Justin Schmidt gets out of the squad and says, “Put your [expletive] hands up now!”

“I will [expletive] shoot you!” Schmidt yells while in a footrace with Blevins.

“Put your [expletive] hands up!” the officers repeat, telling Blevins to stop as he sprints down the street.

“I will [expletive] shoot you!” Schmidt says as the chase continues.

“What? C’mon man!” Blevins repeats as he continues running. “I didn’t do nothing, bro.”

“You’ve got a gun, [expletive]!” Schmidt says as Blevins protests. “Yes you do!” Schmidt says. “Put it down! I will [expletive] shoot you!”

“Please don’t shoot me!” Blevins says, still running.

“Put your hands up!” Schmidt says.

“Leave me alone!” Blevins responds.

The slowed-down video then shows a flash of silver in Blevins’ right hand just as shots are fired, with another glimpse of the firearm in his hand as he falls to the ground.

Less than 45 seconds into the foot chase, and after more than a dozen shots are fired by both officers, Blevins goes down in the alley faceup, a handgun to his right. The officers keep their guns trained on Blevins, and more officers arrive and an ambulance is called.

“Shots fired! Shots fired! One down,” officer Ryan Kelly says, calling for an ambulance.Minneapolis police body-camera video released Sunday night shows officers repeatedly warning an armed Thurman Blevins to put his hands up as they chased him through a North Side residential neighborhood last month and then fatally shot him in an alley.

The dramatic imagery, slowed down and stabilized by a California forensic video firm, shows the 31-year-old Blevins with a handgun and running from police. The video appears to show the gun in Blevins’ hand shortly before shots were fired.

The release of the video so soon after the shooting comes as police departments in the Twin Cities and beyond cope with public backlash over the shooting of men of color during encounters with officers. In this and other shootings, activists have demanded rapid release of police bodycam video, believing the images will reveal that officers are too quick to shoot suspects.

The death of Blevins, who was black, at the hands of white officers in a residential alley in the 4700 block between Aldrich and Bryant avenues N. sparked tensions and protests, as have police killings of other black men in recent years in the Twin Cities.

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