Meeting about Minneapolis police shooting ends abruptly

Meeting about Minneapolis police shooting ends abruptly Photo: AP

July 12, 2018 10:51 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A community meeting to discuss the fatal shooting of a black man by Minneapolis police ended abruptly Thursday after his family angrily questioned why the meeting was being held and objected to the presence of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Thurman Blevins, 31, was killed last month after officers responded to a 911 call of a man shooting a gun into the air and ground. Authorities said two Minneapolis officers fired their guns after chasing Blevins into an alley. They said a gun was recovered at the scene, but some community members have disputed that Blevins was armed.

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BCA Superintendent Drew Evans was scheduled to speak at Thursday's meeting about how his agency investigates shootings involving officers, and he planned to review details about Blevins' death that have been made public. But as he began speaking, some of Blevins' family members became angry and said they were never consulted.

"I am disappointed in whoever organized this because you didn't have the decency to reach out to my (family) but you used my brother's death, and in some way in vain, and that's not OK," said Blevins' sister, Corey Blevins.

She said the community needs to fight for justice for her brother. She added that he was not a bad person.

"We all make mistakes. ... But we also all have a future, but my brother doesn't anymore," she said.

Evans eventually left as the meeting turned into a shouting match.

The meeting was organized by the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage. The group's executive director, Justin Terrell, said he didn't see it as a total disaster.

"This could have been a very calm, collected conversation, but the people who are hurting the most needed to have their space," he said.

Community activists and some of Blevins' family members have pushed for criminal charges against the officers, Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly. The two have remained on leave since the June 23 shooting.

The family and activists also have called for the immediate release of body camera footage that captured the shooting and for a third-party investigation.

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For the latest developments on the fatal shooting of Thurman Blevins: https://bit.ly/2NDXvBA

Follow Youssef Rddad on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/youssefrddad

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By YOUSSEF RDDAD

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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