On Sunday night, the City of Minneapolis released police body cam videos of the shooting of Thurman Blevins, responding to pressure from community activists who demanded the clips become public before the completion of an investigation into Blevins' death.
The clips bolster cops' claim that Blevins had a gun on him when they found, then chased him for several blocks. The city's release includes a "stabilized and analyzed" version, which highlights where police saw a gun on Blevins' hip, and, later, in his hand.
As Blevins lies on the ground, dying, a third cop arrives at the scene and approaches to kick away the handgun.
(Warning: All three videos in this story are graphic, and hard to watch.)
Those sympathetic to Blevins, or skeptical of police use of deadly force, will likely remained unconvinced of the need to kill a man running away.
Reports had come in about a "light-skinned" black man in his 30s, around six feet tall, wearing a "white or grey tank top" and carrying a "black backpack."
Officer Ryan Kelly calls it a "pretty good description" of the suspect.
According to the 911 caller, that man was "intoxicated," and "walking around shooting off his gun," which the caller labeled a "silver nine millimeter." The caller says the man shot his gun into the air and the ground, and hadn't hurt anyone, and that he was carrying a bottle of Amsterdam gin.
When Kelly and Officer Justin Schmidt rolled up on Blevins a couple minutes later, the 31-year-old was sitting on a curb talking with a woman pushing a stroller. Blevins appears to be holding a dog on a leash. His tank top was black, not "white or grey," but there is a black backpack on the ground next to him.
"What about this guy?" one cop asks, as their squad car approaches Blevins.
"He's got a bottle of gin," Schmidt says, unhooking his seat belt, adding, as he snaps open the door, "He's got a gun."
"Put your fucking hands up!" Schmidt yells, immediately pointing his gun at Blevins, who starts running.
Both cops give chase, screaming "Stop!," as Blevins runs down the sidewalk, asking "Why?"
"You've got a gun, motherfucker," Schmidt yells back, only a few feet behind Blevins, who calls back, "No I don't!"
As Blevins turns down an alley, he yells: "Please don't shoot me!" A few seconds later, Schmidt does, firing about 10 rounds at the fleeing Blevins, who drops to the ground. Kelly adds a few shots of his own.
Schmidt approaches Blevins and stands near his body, which is already barely moving, and both cops keeping their guns trained on the man they'd just chased as a backup unit arrives. The whole scene lasts less than a minute.
Blevins' death and the officer's actions that day are being investigated by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which will then turn its findings over to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to determine if Blevins' homicide was potentially criminal.
Blevins' cousin Sydnee Brown told the Star Tribune the clips prove his death was unnecessary, saying, "He wasn't a threat when they approached him. They didn't view him as a human being."