No charges against officers who fatally shot Thurman Blevins

Monday, July 30, 2018

Charges will not be filed against the two Minneapolis Police Officers who fatally shot Thurman Blevins, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced at a news conference Monday.

Witness testimony, body camera video and forensic testing all proved that Blevins had a nine millimeter semi-automatic handgun in his hand and refused multiple commands to drop the gun during the foot chase that ended in his death on June 23, Freeman said.

The two officers, Ryan Kelly and Justin Schmidt, were responding to a 911 call by a resident who said he had seen an apparently drunk man walking down the street firing a semi-automatic handgun into the air and into the ground. The caller was concerned about the safety of himself and his neighbors. The caller also gave a very detailed description of the shooter.

Kelly and Schmidt responded to the call and eventually saw Blevins sitting at the corner of 48th and Camden Avenues North with a bottle in his hand and a woman and a baby in a stroller nearby. Blevins matched the description and as they were stopping the car, Officer Schmidt yelled, “he’s got a gun,” which he could see protruding from Blevins’ pants pocket, Freeman said.

Blevins refused the officers orders to drop his gun and put his hands up, and instead, led the two officers on a foot chase that ended in an alley between Aldrich and Bryant and 48th and 47th Avenues. Blevins took the gun from his pants pocket and began to turn towards the officers. Officer Schmidt immediately fired and Kelly, who was a short distance behind, also fired, Freeman stated. The officers fired 14 shots from their weapons, four of which struck Blevins.

“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. “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.”

Thurman Blevins charging decision speech from Michael O. Freeman (PDF)

Report on the shooting death of Thurman Blevins (PDF)

Justin Schmidt RAW BWC video (YouTube)

Ryan Kelly RAW BWC video (YouTube)

NCAVF analyzed body worn camera video (YouTube)

BCA link to the entire redacted case file

Video of Mike Freeman's speech (YouTube)