MINNEAPOLIS – Minneapolis police body camera footage released Sunday showed the fatal police shooting of an armed man during a frantic foot pursuit. The video ordered released by Minnesota officials in the interest of “transparency” after two other high-profile deadly police shootings in the state.
Three videos of the shooting were released. (Scroll down to watch video.) Two of the videos are the raw footage from the body worn cameras. The third video is a stabilized and analyzed video produced by the National Center for Audio and Video Forensics in Beverly Hills, Calif. at the request of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and provided to the City of Minneapolis by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
According to the MPD, “The National Center for Audio and Video Forensics ran this video through a stabilizing and analysis process. The stabilized and analyzed video includes footage from both MPD officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly. The stabilizing software identifies pixels from each frame and aligns them to help limit the shake that can occur without altering the content.”
In a Sunday evening press conference, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called the video of 31-year-old Thurman Blevins’ death “traumatic.” Moreover, he said the Blevins family had viewed the video Sunday. He said the video was released in the interest of “transparency,” FOX9 reported.
The shooting occurred after Minneapolis police officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly responded to a 911 call of a man firing a gun into the air on the city’s north side.
A transcript of the 911 call previously released by the city included pleas from a caller to dispatch to send help because a man with a bottle of liquor was firing a handgun in the air and into the ground, the Star Tribune reported.
The video released Sunday shows two officers pulling their police unit up to Blevins, who’s seated on a curb near a woman with a child in a stroller.
As the officers pull up, one says, “He’s got a gun!” Suddenly, Blevins jumps up and runs, as the officers yell “Stop, stop! Put your hands up! I will f—— shoot you!”
During a chase that takes less than a minute, Blevins yells back, “I didn’t do nothing, bro,” ”Please don’t shoot” and “Leave me alone.” An enhanced version of the video has a red circle drawn around Blevins’ hand to highlight a gun.
As the chase continues down an alley, Blevins is shot while still running as the barrel of the weapon is seen directionally toward the officers.
Investigators said both Kelly and Schmidt fired their weapons and an autopsy showed Blevins was shot multiple times.
Investigators have said the officers arrived to find Blevins sitting with a woman on a curb before he ran, carrying a black and silver gun.
The firearm was recovered at the scene. Nevertheless, some witnesses disputed that Blevins was armed, saying he was only carrying a bottle or a cup.
Sydnee Brown, Blevins’ cousin, told the Star Tribune family members were shown the video before public release, and that it showed to her that Blevins wasn’t a threat to police.
“He didn’t deserve to die,” Brown said. “He wasn’t a threat when [the officers] approached him. They didn’t view him as a human being.”
However, the officer’s families are likely to see things differently.
The officers are on paid administrative leave, and the city’s police chief has said he could not comment while an investigation is pending.
As has become standard practice, a protest of Blevins’ death was planned for Tuesday afternoon at the Hennepin County Government Center.
Blevins’ death prompted earlier demonstrations and community advocates demanded transparency and urged the swift release of body camera footage.
Now that they have it will their perspective change?
Minneapolis has been rocked by two high-profile fatal police shootings in recent years, including the November 2015 shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, and last year’s shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, 40. Officers in the Clark case were not charged. However, a trial is pending for Mohamed Noor who shot Damond.