A Minneapolis prosecutor has said that the two police officers involved in the fatal shooting last month of Thurman Blevins were justified in their use of deadly force, and that no charges will be filed against the officers.
What's a background?
On June 23, Minneapolis Police Officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly responded to a call of a black man firing a gun into the air and ground.
The call resulted in the shooting death of 31-year-old Blevins. Blevins' death sparked protests and outrage as many people did not believe that Blevins' actions warranted being shot to death by police. Friends and family of Blevins also called for the officers to face criminal charges.
On Sunday, officials released bodycam footage of the officer-involved shooting, which showed Blevins uncooperative — and armed.
In the video, police can be seen approaching Blevins, who runs away from police and demands that they leave him alone. The officers end up chasing Blevins, who later pulls out what is revealed to be a loaded gun, and fatally shooting him in an alleyway.
You can see the videos in the links below.
(Content warning: The videos are graphic and contain rough language):
● Here is the stabilized and analyzed video.
● This is first raw video.
● This is the second the raw video.
“This is just one part of an effort to bring greater transparency,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said during a news conference. “We can’t make our city a better place by demonizing all police or by failing to recognize that black lives do matter.”
What did the prosecutor say?
On Monday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said that because Blevins failed to listen to the responding officers' directions, he was a threat to the community as well as the officers themselves in refusing to show his hands.
"The decision to use deadly force against Mr. Blevins under those circumstances was authorized," Freeman said.
Freeman added that no charges will be filed against the officers in connection to Blevins' death.
Freeman's comments came on the heels of Sunday's release of the officers' bodycam footage.
Lt. Bob Kroll, who is head of the police union, concurred with Freeman and said that the body cam footage justified the officers' actions.
"The officers deserve the Minneapolis Police Department's highest award — the Medal of Honor — and the respect of the population it swore to protect," Kroll said.
According to Time, a protest in connection with Blevins' death is planned for Tuesday afternoon at the Hennepin County Government Center.