Minneapolis, MN – On Saturday, June 23, 2018, Minneapolis Police officers shot and killed 31-year-old father, Thurman ‘Jun’ Blevins, in the Camden neighborhood of north Minneapolis. The police and the mayor’s version of events place Blevins with a gun, yet all witness statements contradict that and say he was simply drinking during a nice day with his partner, his baby, and his dog on the corner of 48th and Camden Avenues when he was approached and killed.
Reportedly responding to 911 calls of someone in the neighborhood shooting a gun, police officers pulled up to 48th and Camden and witnesses say, hopped out of their car with their guns drawn, tased Thurman who then ran away and was subsequently shot by police a couple blocks later.
Unicorn Riot’s previous coverage – June 23: Police Kill Man in North Minneapolis. A 5-minute clip covering some of our interviews with the community is here:
Unicorn Riot was live shortly after the killing for a few hours. We spoke with several witnesses, community members, city council members, clergy, and community organizers, many grieving with the news and with what they saw transpire.
Police had taped off much of the area, extending the crime scene for over six blocks. Body cameras on the police officers involved are said to have been turned on and are expected to show what happened.
Deputy Chief Knight of the Minneapolis Police Department said while on the scene that he wished they “did like other cities” and would show pertinent video footage to the public right away.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is the investigating agency and are in custody of all of the evidence, including the body cam footage, which most likely will not be released to the public until the case is concluded.
Investigators from @MnDPS_BCA are processing the scene where @MinneapolisPD just shot & killed Thurman Blevins. Locals on the scene have told us they don’t trust BCA to do independent investigations into police shootings. https://t.co/1Do1dcfWAH pic.twitter.com/x14NxDMyJr
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) June 24, 2018
Nearly all of the witnesses we spoke with said the same thing: that Blevins was sitting on the curb with his girlfriend, baby, and dog, when the police pulled up. They all said that Blevins stood with his hands up when the police got out of the vehicle with their guns drawn and he was tased, he then ran and was shot several times.
The narrative that Blevins was armed was inserted into the story from the beginning of the tragic incident, based on two 911 calls of a man with a gun in the neighborhood. Some news reports go as far as saying that Blevins was firing his gun while running away.
However, witnesses and family members say Blevins was unarmed, innocently targeted by the police, and was scared, so he ran. This whole situation is said to have been a very fast encounter that lasted no longer than two minutes.
Blevins was expected to take part in burying his recently deceased sister today, June 24. Now the family will be making preparations for another burial.
Blevins was well known in the community. A neighbor stated that the police “took a good man from our neighborhood“. She stated that her kids looked up to him and he was always giving them popsicles and change out of his pocket.
Many members of Blevins family came to the scene during the night. At one point, community members encircled Blevins’ family and said some prayers.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) June 24, 2018
There was a protest demanding justice for Thurman on Sunday afternoon and two vigils during the night. UPDATE: On Sunday night we heard from our first witness to say that Blevins was shot in the alley a house away from him and that he saw a black handgun close to Blevins’ body before the police came and kicked it away. The Mayor of Minneapolis said that as soon as the BCA is done with its interviews, they will release the body camera videos from Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly, the officers who shot Blevins.
Check out our livestreams and interviews from the night of the killing below.
UPDATE – July 31, 2018 2:30 pm Central: Body camera footage was released Sunday, July 29, showing Blevins had a gun. The next day, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that no charges would be filed against MPD officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly.
Unicorn Riot coverage of Thurman Blevins' Killing by MPD:
- Police Kill Man in North Minneapolis - June 23, 2018
- Witnesses Claim Thurman ‘Jun’ Blevins was Unarmed when Killed by Minneapolis PD - June 24, 2018
- Body Cam Videos of Police Killing Blevins to be Released Post-BCA Interviews - June 27, 2018
- Questions Remain in Blevins Killing as Mayor Promises Footage Release by End-of-July - July 23, 2018
- No Charges Filed in Blevins’ Killing as Body Camera Footage is Released - July 31, 2018
- Killed by Police: Thurman Blevins Remembered One Year Later - July 23, 2019