Another day, another black man gunned down by the police.
Police shot a black man dead while he was running away from them in north Minneapolis, suspecting he had a gun. According to a police statement, they received a 911 call detailing that a man with a handgun was firing in the air and on the ground.
Minneapolis police officers shot and killed Thurman Blevins without any evidence, just on the basis of suspicion. As soon as the police chief learned Blevins was black, he arrived at the scene of the shooting, urging people to stay calm.
“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,” Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement.
Some people have disputed the police’s statement, claiming the black man did not have any gun with him.
According to Eva Watson, one of the witnesses, the 31-year-old was complying with the police officers. However, the cops asked him to put his hands up in the air and then tased him. It was at this time that Belvins started running away from the police officers, yelling “don’t shoot.”
Soon Watson heard several gun shots.
Another witness, James Lark, also had something similar to share. He said officers used a Taser on Blevins, who tried to run away, and that’s when shots were fired.
“I heard nine, 10, 11, 12 shots,” Lark said. “They opened up on him right there in the alley.”
Other witnesses believe Blevins was a target of police brutality because he did not have a gun.
The sister of Blevins’ girlfriend, Katya Kelly, said officers shot Blevins while he was running away from them. She said that Blevins had been drinking along with his girlfriend and that he was holding a bottle in his hand as the pair walked to Kelly’s house. “He didn’t have a gun or anything,” she said. “He was just sitting there. He got killed for nothing.”
Blevins died in front of Robert Lang’s garage. Lang explained he had just got done with cutting the grass and was setting the lawnmower aside when he heard police sirens. “I heard the police repeatedly say ‘drop the gun’ probably three or four times. ‘Drop the gun,’” Lang said, explaining that he decided to stay inside because he figured something violent was happening outside.
However, after the gunshots stopped, he came out and saw Blevins lying on the ground soaked in blood.
“Police hadn’t even come up to him yet, and probably about a foot and a half from him on his right-hand side was a firearm,” Lang said. “Then a police officer came up and kicked the gun away, said ‘clear,’ and then when he saw me he told me to go back in the yard, which I did.”
“Honestly, I don't know what's going through the community's minds, but I do know that we continue to be traumatized one time after another,” Minneapolis NAACP President Leslie Badue said.
“It's extremely unfortunate, and we just want answers.”
People of color have been targeted by the police department disproportionately. In 2017, police killed 1,129 people, of which 27 percent were African Americans, even though they make up to just about 13 percent of the total U.S. population.
Just last week, police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killed Antwon Rose. He was a 17-year-old black teenager who was unarmed. The police officer pulled over a car at a traffic stop after it matched the description of a vehicle that fled an earlier shooting. While police detained the driver, Rose and another person who was with them in the car jumped out and started running.
That’s when the police officers shot him in the back at least three times.
Similarly, Blevins was also running away from the officers, scared, yelling at the officers to not shoot him. Both of these black young black men were running away from the officers, which meant they were not going to threaten the cops or anyone around them.
But the police officers killed them anyway.
The cops involved in Blevins shooting were not identified. The shooting is being investigated by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts