Police Union President Calls Officers' Actions 'Heroic' in Blevins Shooting

July 30, 2018 11:33 AM

One day after the body cam of the officer-involved shooting that killed Thurman Blevins in North Minneapolis was released by the city, key officials are reacting. 

The police union stands by officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly who fired the weapons at Blevins, calling their actions "heroic" and deserving of the highest recognition from the city. 

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According to investigators, Minneapolis police officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly had responded to a 911 call of a man firing a gun into the air on the city's north side June 23.

The videos released Sunday night show Schmidt and Kelly pulling up in a police vehicle at the reported scene, near a man identified as Blevins, and subsequently pursuing him on foot.

RELATED: Minneapolis Releases Police Body Camera Footage of Thurman Blevins Shooting

At 10:30 a.m., Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman was scheduled to make an announcement regarding the investigation. Freeman began talking but then delayed the start to wait for family who had not yet arrived. Just minutes into speaking, family and advocates began speaking, and Freeman left the room.

RELATED: Protesters Interrupt Freeman News Conference on Blevins Case

Blevins' cousin Sydnee Brown said Freeman has 48 hours to charge the officers. 

RELATED: Graphic Video: Full, Raw Body Camera Footage of Thurman Blevins Shooting 

Lt. Bob Kroll, the president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis read the following statement at a press conference Monday morning:  

The Federation maintained from the start that the officer's actions during this incident were heroic. The body camera footage exemplifies this. The officers did exactly what the public expects them to do. They responded to 911 calls of a person shooting a gun, they located the suspect, gave numerous orders for him to comply, pursued the suspect as he fled, they were forced to fire at the suspect only after he pointed a gun and fired at the officers. The officers deserve the Minneapolis Police Department's highest award, The Medal of Honor and the respect of the population it swore to protect.

We want to thank the community that stepped up and decided that in their neighborhood, family safety trumps false narratives. Police officers never want to be forced to fire their weapons. Sadly, Mr. Blevins gave them no other option. Blevins was shooting a gun in a residential area; he resisted officers, fled, pointed a gun at them and fired. This is consistent with his criminal history. By the age of 31, Blevins racked up six felony convictions for, among others, fleeing police, assaulting an officer, narcotics possession, and being a felon in possession of a pistol.

To the politicians, both city and state, and those currently running for office that condemned the police officers' actions prior to any facts or evidence, you have done a disservice to the communities you are supposed to represent. We challenge you to take the time to learn exactly what it takes to be an officer, if not, you should resign from your positions or drop out of races. 

Witnesses have stated Blevins was not armed. If the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension obtained sworn statements from witnesses, The Federation requests transparency in reviewing them. Criminal charges should be fired where appropriate. We demand this of our officers. As a community we should demand it of our citizens.

We challenge community activists that are critical of police to place themselves in the officer's shoes. Tell us what you would have done different or better. We are currently hiring. If you have the courage to make what our officers did this day part of your job duties, apply and join us. If you don't, please remain silent and support your police. 

Credits

Theresa Malloy

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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