Neighbors mourn the death of Thurman Blevins Jr

N Minneapolis Neighbors: Still searching for answers and trying to understand

Susie Jones
June 25, 2018 - 4:53 pm

by Susie Jones

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Jerome Peters sits in a lawn chair, holding his one year old son in his lap, camped out at the sight of where Thurman Blevins Jr, 31, who was shot and killed last Saturday by Minneapolis Police. He's there, to support the community, "And please don't think I mean the black people that live in the ghetto. I'm here for the people of my community who are citizens of this country who have been lied to and manipulated over a series of years and conditioned, and brainwashed, to the state they have us in and having these things happening to us."

There is a memorial set up in the alley where the shooting happened. There are items like a Vikings Jersey, tennis shoes candles and other messages to Blevins.

"I'm not here to lead any marches or boycotts or anything like that," he said.

Instead he wants to see change. "In the history of life, sacrifices have to be made," Peters added.

Just down the street, another memorial is up near 48th and Camden.

"I just hope there is justice," said Lanika Rhea. She was a friend of Blevins. "They need to stop this, especially in Minnesota where officers are trained to kill."

She has a 7-year old son, who she tries to protect, but she has no answers when it comes to this shooting.

"You know we watch the news and when we see stuff like that, he asks me 'mom why are the police killing us?' I can't answer that," she said.

Rhea doesn't believe her friend would shoot a gun into the air and run from police, others share her opinion. 
 
Katya Kelly, the sister of Blevins' girlfriend, said Blevins had a bottle in his hand — not a gun — as he and his girlfriend walked to her house. The Minneapolis NAACP wrote in a Facebook post that witnesses said he had been drinking out of a cup. They want police body camera video released to show what led to the shooting.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner office released its findings on Monday. The reported Blevins died from multiple gunshot wounds.  The information will be sent to the BCA, as the agency is investigating the shooting.

There are some who have a different version of the events that unfolded. Robert Lang told WCCO television he was out mowing the lawn, when he heard officers saying drop the gun -- and then shots were fired.  

"The police hadn't even come up to him yet and probably about a foot from where he was on his right side was a firearm, and a police officer came up and kicked it away and said clear."

Last night, the head of the Minneapolis police union also said he'd like the video released.

"The sooner the better and release all of it," said Lt Bob Kroll, who called the actions of the officers heroic. "The cops are not getting enough credit for this. They did everything that was asked of them. It takes a special person to run toward gun fire."

The two officers involved are expected to be interviewed by the BCA tomorrow.