Protesters to call for arrest of Minneapolis officers

A woman lights candles at a vigil for Thurman Blevins

A U.S. prosecutor announced on Monday (Tuesday NZ Time) that two Minneapolis police officers won't be charged in last month's fatal shooting of a black man.

"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 [Justin] Schmidt and Officer [Ryan] Kelly", Freeman said in a statement.

Blevins took the gun out of his trousers pocket and turned towards the officers just before they fired 14 shots, according to the Hennepin County prosecutor's office.

"Their decision to use deadly force against Mr. Blevins under those circumstances was authorized by Minn".

The Minneapolis Police Department released three versions of the video on Sunday. Freeman had tried to make the announcement during a news conference, but he was shouted down by Blevins' friends and family members.

"You've got a gun, motherfucker", Schmidt yells back, only a few feet behind Blevins, who calls back, "No I don't!"

The stabilized video clearly shows the firearm in Blevins' hand just before Officer Schmidt opened fire. What ensued was less than a minute of a frantic chase around the neighborhood with officers yelling "stop" and urging the suspect to "put your hands up!". During the chase, Schmidt can be heard telling Blevins, "I will [expletive] shoot you", and "Stop or I'll shoot". Blevins says, "Please don't shoot" and "Leave me alone". Schmidt's lawyer, Kevin Short, defended his client's actions, saying in a statement to KSTP, "The video shows Thurman Blevins fired one shot at officers". His sister, Darlynn Blevins, said her brother "ran for his life" because he was scared and the officer "emptied his clip into my brother's back". Kelly and Schmidt are on paid administrative leave.

The shooting has been under investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Investigators found casings at the scene that matched the 911 caller's story and Blevins' DNA was found on the gun itself, according to Freeman, who spoke with reporters on a conference call after his press conference was interrupted. When slowed down, the video shows Blevins pulled out a gun in his waistband just before being shot by both officers, but it is unclear if Blevins fired the weapon. Kroll says Blevins pointed the gun at the officers and fired a shot.

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Blevins was shot June 23 by two Minneapolis police officers who were responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun firing into the air and the ground.

The chase continues into an alley.

Lt. Bob Kroll, the head of the police union, said the body camera footage proved the two officers acted justifiably.

Blevins' death sparked protests in Minneapolis and calls for the body cam footage to be released.

"So there was no question that he fired the gun", Freeman said. A post-mortem examination showed Mr Blevins was shot multiple times. She added that they "didn't view him as a human being".

Sydnee Brown, Blevin's first cousin, said the family was "devastated" by his death. "The stabilizing software identifies pixels from each frame and aligns them to help limit the shake that can occur without altering the content". Two of the videos are the raw footage from the body worn cameras.

"I haven't done nothing, bro", Blevins says.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo released a statement Sunday night, saying the Minneapolis Police Department is "unable to publicly comment on any facet of this incident". Officers, on average, have been involved in four to five police shootings a year since 2008.

Stinson's research finds that the vast majority of officers nationwide are not charged, due to the high legal standard that gives officers wide discretion to use deadly force.

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