July 09, 2018 06:43 PM
Family members of Thurman Blevins, the 31-year-old man fatally shot by Minneapolis police last month, spoke on the steps of Minneapolis City Hall Monday morning, saying he was "murdered" by the officers involved in the incident.
"We demand justice and that means putting these officers behind bars," said Sydnee Brown, Blevins' cousin.
"I feel like my brother was murdered," said Darlynn Blevins, who is Thurman's older sister.
According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the agency leading the investigation into the incident, Blevins had a gun when he was shot by officers on June 23. However, investigators have not said exactly why the officers opened fire.
A 911 caller told police dispatchers a man who appeared intoxicated was firing a gun into the air, according to a transcript released by police.
According to the BCA, when officers arrived, they found Blevins and a woman family members said was his girlfriend sitting on the curb near the 48th and Camden intersection. As officers approached him, Blevins ran off and the BCA said he was carrying a silver and black gun.
After pursuing him for several blocks, both officers fired their guns. Blevins was pronounced dead at the scene. The BCA has identified the officers involved as Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly. A family member Monday cited complaints against the officers involved. The public personnel files for Schmidt and Kelly do show complaints, but also show no discipline was imposed.
"They had time to catch him," his older sister Darlynn Blevins said. "They had time to Tase him. They had time to grab him, tackle him down. Anything they could have did. But they waited until he got into that blind spot, which was that alley, where no one could see them. Where no one could witness what went down."
Family members and other supporters are planning a Wednesday night meeting at Jenny Lind Elementary in North Minneapolis.
A spokesperson for the BCA said details are also being worked out regarding a possible meeting with community members.
On Monday, Blevins' family described him as a kind spirit and a good father.
"He was at the beginning of his life," his sister said. "He really didn't even get the chance to live his life. He didn't get to accomplish the things he wanted to do."
Family members said Monday they have heard witnesses maintain Blevins was shot in the back. They said they hope to view body camera footage of the incident next week, but they made it clear they want to see the whole incident, including the way officers approached him.
Family members maintain officers approached with guns drawn, which they said scared Blevins into running. Family members also said that there was no need for officers to open fire.
"He didn't ever get the chance to even say 'Look, I don't have anything,'" his sister said. "Nothing. They just killed him with multiple shots."
Updated: July 09, 2018 06:43 PM
Created: July 09, 2018 10:14 AM
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