Thurman Blevins reportedly was drinking gin and shooting a gun in the air on June 23 in a Minneapolis, Minn., neighborhood. When police arrived on the scene, Blevins was sitting on the curb with his girlfriend and baby.
From bodycam footage released Sunday, the police are heard saying he’s got a gun and they jumped out of their car.
A chase ensues, and an officer yells that if Blevins doesn’t put down his gun, the officer was “going to f*cking shoot” him.
Seconds later, Blevins is shot dead in the back.
If Blevins was shooting a gun recklessly, he was endangering the public. But some argue that the situation could’ve been de-escalated by police instead of using deadly force. The aggressive comment the officer made also colors the situation.
Minneapolis NAACP president Leslie Badue said in a Facebook post, “Eye witnesses stated he was killed while running away from the officers. The witnesses say that he was sitting on the curb with his girlfriend and baby. The cup that he was drinking can still be seen at the scene.”
Ron Davis, former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), has said activists, cops and experts can argue over proving or disproving bias, but it doesn’t matter to those who are shot.
“From the community that’s receiving it,” he said, “it doesn’t feel like disparity. It feels like bias — it feels like racism.”
Protests ensued and the reports of Blevins’ possession of a gun were conflicting. But deadly force by police is used against people of color more than whites.
Data collected from the nation’s largest police departments showed: police shot at least 1,670 Black people from 2010 through 2016, which is 55 percent of the total and more than double the share of the Black population in these communities. It also showed Blacks shot by police were more likely to be committing a robbery or involved in a shooting. Whites were more often involved in suicide attempts or domestic violence incidents and other serious crimes.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and mayor Jacob Frey have not commented on the incident and a criminal investigation into the shooting of Blevins is still pending.
Both officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly are currently on leave.