Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced Wednesday plans to release body camera footage in the June 23 fatal police shooting of Thurman Blevins. Mayor Frey’s decision follows days of rallies, vigils, and demands from community members.
According to police reports, Blevins was shot multiple times by police during a foot chase which lasted several blocks. He was pronounced dead at the scene in an alley at 4746 Bryant Avenue North. Some witnesses on the scene have disputed the account by the Minneapolis Police Department that Blevins had a gun at the time of the shooting.
In a Facebook post, Mayor Frey explained his decision to release body cam footage by saying, “Transparency and accountability are of the highest priority for Chief Arradondo and me. It means full and thoughtful disclosure of information and an unwavering commitment to fairness and justice.”
[Also read: North Side mourns yet another police shooting]
Also on Wednesday, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) identified Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly as the Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of 31-year-old Blevins. Schmidt has been with MPD since 2014; Kelly has been with the department since 2013. Both officers are on standard administrative leave pending the BCA’s investigation.
The BCA states that it will continue its investigation, which is expected to take several weeks to complete. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office will assess the BCA’s findings once the investigation is finished.
In related news, community members and activists, including representatives of Black Lives Matter Twin Cities, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar and others, attended a Committee of the Whole meeting Wednesday at Minneapolis City Hall to press for demands in light of the shooting. Their demands include: the release of Blevins’ body to the family; a “truly independent” investigation not led by the BCA; immediate release of the body cam footage; immediate release by MPD of all the set data related to critical incidents; community control of police and the termination of police officers involved without pay.
Stay tuned for updates on the investigation.