Minneapolis police release body cam footage from Thurman Blevins shooting

'Please don't shoot me,' man yells during police chase

Emily Shugerman
New York
@eshugerman
Friday 10 August 2018 18:19
comments
Minneapolis police release bodycam footage showing fatal shooting of unarmed black man

Minneapolis police have released body cam footage of the moment a black man was shot from behind while running from police.

The death of 31-year-old Thurman Blevins ignited a familiar debate around police violence in his community, where family members have called for the officers involved to be prosecuted.

The incident is under investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, but Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey released the body cam footage early, under pressure from Minneapolis residents and all 13 city council members.

“Just over 30 days have passed since the shooting took place,” Mr Frey told reporters on the day of the video’s release. “This is an unprecedented timeline, but in that timeline we needed to act with full transparency and making sure we’re honest, even if the truth is difficult.”

He added: "I know that right now in our city there's a lot of pain.”

The video shows two Minneapolis Police Department officers responding to a 911 call about a man shooting a gun into the air in the city’s North Side.

The officers pull up to a curb where Mr Blevins is sitting with a woman. One officer identifies the man as armed, and the two run out of the car screaming: “Put your f***ing hands up”.

Mr Blevins turns and runs, setting off a less than one-minute foot chase. Several times, an officer tells Mr Blevins: “I will f***ng shoot you”.

“Why?” Mr Blevins asks repeatedly. “I didn't do nothing, bro.”

Later, he says: “Please don’t shoot me.”

Approximately 30 seconds into the chase, Mr Blevins pulls what appears to be a gun out of his pocket. The officers fire, and Mr Blevins falls to the ground.

An autopsy report found Mr Blevins was shot multiple times. Investigators said both officers fired their weapons.

Protest after police shootings

A gun was recovered at the scene of the incident on June 23, according to a police report. Witnesses have contested the claim that Mr Blevins was armed, however, saying he could have been holding a bottle or can.

“Thurman Blevins begged for his life not to be taken by the Minneapolis Police Department,” read a post on the Justice For Thurman Blevins Jr Facebook page after the video was released.

"The audio concluded these officers never looked at Thurman as a regular human being but a (mother f******). Thurman posed no threat to be viciously gun downed.”

The officers, Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly, have been placed on paid leave while the investigation is conducted. The

Department released a statement on behalf of Chief Medaria Arradondo, saying he could not comment on the video but will “continue to remain engaged, active and listen throughout the community”.

The incident follows other high-profile police shootings in the Minneapolis area in recent years. Jamar Clark, 24, was shot and killed in 2015, and 40-year-old Australian Justine Ruszczyk Damond was killed last July.

A protest of Mr Blevins death was scheduled for Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Update. An earlier version of this article wrongly referred to Justine Ruszczyk Damond as a "black man". It has now been corrected. 10/8/18

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