Protesters take over Blevins press conference, no charges against officers

Blevins was shot and killed by Minneapolis police officers on June 23.
Publish date:

UPDATE 11:30 A.M. 

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman released a written statement saying the officers involved in the Thurman Blevins shooting will not be charged. Here is his full statement. 

“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," said Freeman. 

"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 added that witness testimony and body camera video prove that Blevins was carrying a nine millimeter semi-automatic handgun. 

"Blevins took the gun from his pants pocket and began to turn towards the officers. Officer Schmidt immediately fired and Kelly, who was a short distance behind, also fired," Freeman said. "The officers fired 14 shots from their weapons, four of which struck Blevins."

Protestors take over county attorney's press conference

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman walked out of his press conference regarding possible criminal charges in the Minneapolis police shooting death of Thurman Blevins, as the event was hijacked by angry protestors.

Freeman was in the beginning stages of what he said would be a 20-minute conference, and was in the process was defining what Minnesota law considers appropriate and inappropriate deadly use of force when protestors walked to the podium saying they came to hold their own press conference. 

One member of the group stood at the podium and said: "We are tired of being hunted down like deer. We are tired of being hunted down and shot."

A woman, who said she is Blevins' cousins, threatened "consequences" if there's no legal action taken within the next 2 days.

"We're not angry, we're more so disgusted," she said. "We're disgusted by the leaders of the world and we're disgusted by the leaders of Minnesota. We want the officers arrested in the next 48 hours or else there will be consequences.”

Had they waited, they would have found out what decision Freeman had made regarding charges in this case.

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Police union president says shooting was justified

Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll says body camera footage from the Blevins shooting shows that Blevins shot at officers first. 

Blevins was shot and killed by officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly during a foot pursuit through a north Minneapolis alley on June 23. Both officers were wearing body cameras, and the City of Minneapolis released that footage to the public on Sunday night

Two videos of raw footage and a "stabilized and analyzed" video produced by the National Center for Audio & Video Forensics shows the chase involving officers Schmidt and Kelly and the 31-year-old Blevins.

The footage shows that Blevins was running away from the officers and had his back turned when he was shot, while a slowed-down part of the video circles what appears to be a gun in Blevins' right hand.

It's hard to tell in the footage, but Kroll said Monday that the officers "were forced to fire at the suspect only after he pointed a gun and fired at the officers."

Kroll added that a shell casing from Blevins' gun was found and there was a bullet hole in the pavement, all of which he said will be revealed through the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's investigation.

This is a developing story. More to come. 

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