Hennepin County prosecutors announced Monday that no charges will be filed against two officers who shot an armed man during a foot pursuit in Minneapolis just moments after protesters forced officials away from a podium where they were holding a live press conference.
The Minneapolis Police Department released body camera footage from the June 23 shooting of Thurman Blevins, 31, was released on Monday along with the announcement that the Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman, would not be filing charges against officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly.
“When Mr. Blevins fled from the officers with a loaded handgun, refused to follow their commands for him to stop and show his hands and then took the gun out of his pocket and turned toward the officers, Mr. Blevins represented a danger to the lives of Officer Schmidt and Officer Kelly, “ Freeman said in a release. “Their decision to use deadly force against Mr. Blevins under those circumstances was authorized by Minn. Stat. § 609.066 and as such there is no basis to issue criminal charges against either officer.”
Freeman was shouted down earlier Monday morning at a press conference by several protesters who filled the chamber demanding the officers be arrested in the next 48 hours or else "there will be consequences."
The incident began when someone called 911 and complained that a man with a bottle of liquor was firing shots into the air and the ground, the Star Tribune reported.
Footage from the scene showed the two officers pull up to a corner where Blevins had been sitting near a woman with child in a stroller. As the cops approach him, one of the officers can be heard saying that he can see a gun. Seeing the officers approach, Blevins jumps up and runs down the street with the two officers hot on his heels yelling "Stop! Stop!" and "Put your hands up! I will f****** shoot you!"
Blevins can be heard yelling back at the officers that "I didn't do nothing, bro," and "Please don't shoot" and "Leave me alone." Enhanced video provided by the department show Blevins carrying a gun as officers pursue him.
A gun was recovered at the scene, but some witnesses said Blevins had only been carrying a bottle, or cup.
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said Monday that Schmidt and Kelly were forced to fire after the suspect pointed a gun and fired at the officers who were pursuing him.
"The officer's deserve the Minneapolis Police Department's highest honor, the medal of honor, and they deserve the respect of the population they were sworn to protect," he said.