On the evening of Saturday, June 23rd, 2018, Minneapolis Police (MPD) received a call at 5:26 p.m. regarding a man walking in the area of 4700 Bryant Ave North. The caller provided little information. A second caller reported a person walking and firing a gun into the air and into the ground.
According to an eye witness, Thurman “Jun” Blevins was sitting on the curb with his girlfriend and a child in a stroller in the area the calls originated from when the police pulled up. Blevins stood up when police quickly exited their vehicle. Witnesses say he raised his hands before police shot him with a taser. Blevins proceeded to run in the opposite direction of police when they fired anywhere from 9-14 gunshots. Witnesses say Blevins was shot in the back, less than two minutes after MPD arrived on scene. He died at the scene.
It has not been confirmed that Blevins was, in fact, the person referenced in the 911 calls. It has been reported that the first 911 caller provided few details and no description. The calls are not yet publicly available.
Posted by Marques Armstrong on Saturday, June 23, 2018
It has also been reported that a stray bullet from one of the officer’s guns entered a nearby parked car only moments after the driver exited.
It is unclear if Blevins was intoxicated at the time as he was seen drinking a beverage while sitting on the curb. Obviously this fact is irrelevant but is already being debated.
Witnesses contend Blevins was unarmed at the time. At least one witness was told by another witness that the police placed a gun on the ground near Blevins’ body. Minnesota is an open carry state.
Blevins’ significant other was eventually detained in a squad car for questioning. Witnesses claim the sister of his girlfriend was arrested for interfering.
An officer speaking with the community and answering questions said that the offers were wearing body cameras but it was unclear if they were recording at the time. It has since been confirmed that the body cams were, in fact, on.
UPDATE: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said that he "can confirm that the involved officers' body cameras were on and activated."https://t.co/0KSTXIbxla
— MPR News (@MPRnews) June 24, 2018
Officer-committed shooting death tonight in north Minneapolis was captured on body camera, but our mess of a Data Practices Act means we likely won't see it until the BCA investigation is over. pic.twitter.com/kFOwoFTJAB
— Tony Webster (@webster) June 24, 2018
Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) will be investigating. The BCA investigates all officer involved shootings in Minnesota and will not release information, including the body cam footage, until their investigation is complete.
The ACLU of Minnesota has tweeted about the shooting:
Thurman Blevins was shot by Minneapolis police this afternoon.
“I don’t know if I can call the police if the police are the ones who shot him.”
We are tired of calling for accountability & transparency. We want the police to stop shooting people.https://t.co/i0Oc9vB80q
— ACLU of Minnesota (@ACLUMN) June 24, 2018
Unicorn Riot has been reporting from the scene:
The community has gathered at 48th and Camden in north Minneapolis:
Unicorn Riot’s feed was interrupted just as the witness in the blue shirt shown above was beginning to speak. Multiple attempts to restart their livestream have failed.
Statement from Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey:
“I want to offer words that can help ease the pain that people in every neighborhood of our city feel tonight. But at the same time, I must recognize that whatever words I come up with will fall short of that goal.
Regardless of what happened tonight – too many times, people from across Minneapolis and the Twin Cities have been stung by the pain of a life lost in the course of an encounter with law enforcement. Regardless of what happened tonight – the historical trauma inflicted on communities of color is never far from nearly every facet of our lives.
Tonight we grieve as our memories are stirred by a now too familiar feeling – by the loss of someone’s son, brother, friend, and neighbor.
Events of the past several years, and now tonight, have tested our city in ways that are new to some neighborhoods but are all familiar for others. Strained relations between law enforcement officials and the communities they serve – especially communities of color – have exacted a toll on the very soul of our city, our region, and this nation.
My heart is heavy knowing that tonight in Minneapolis, we mark the beginning of another chapter in a painful history. In the days ahead I will continue working with Chief Arradondo to gather all the facts and take action as necessary.
The facts that we currently have are limited. But here is what we know now: This afternoon there was an officer-involved shooting, during which a man was killed. The officers arrived on the scene in response to two 9-1-1 calls indicating that a man was firing a silver 9mm handgun. The victim was armed, and the case has been referred to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) for investigation.
At the end of the day, we know that no matter what transpired in the moments leading up to the shooting, we know with certainty that the outcome is a tragedy. To everyone hurting tonight: I’m sorry.”
— Kirsten Swanson (@KirstenKSTP) June 24, 2018
A protest demanding justice for Thurman will be held Sunday at 3pm outside of the Minneapolis 4th Precinct – the same location as the 4th Precinct Shutdown in response to the MPD murder of Jamar Clark in November 2015, only a minute after the police began their interaction with him. The street outside of the precinct was occupied for 18 days during that time.
A vigil has been scheduled for Sunday night in the area of the shooting.