Black activists are taking to the streets to demand answers in yet another police killing in less than a week, this time in Minneapolis.
An “emergency protest” was planned for Sunday afternoon near a Minneapolis police precinct to demand justice for Thurman Blevins, according to a Facebook post by a coalition of civil rights groups. The police are offering few details of exactly how events unfolded that ended with the police shooting Blevins, 30, as he fled.
At least two people called 911 on Saturday around 5:30 p.m. to report a man firing a silver 9mm handgun into the air and ground, according to the initial police statement. After the police confronted Blevins, “a foot chase ensued that ended in shots being fired.” Moments later, “the armed suspect was pronounced dead at the scene,” behind a garage in an alley.
“When are you gonna stop killing us? That could be any of our sons!” protesters yelled from behind police tape at officers on the scene Saturday night, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“Hands up! Don’t shoot!” others in the crowd chanted, as people who said they witnessed the shooting shared with each other what they saw.
Belvins and his girlfriend had been drinking as they walked through a north Minneapolis neighborhood, according to Katya Kelly, the sister of Belvins’ girlfriend, the newspaper reported.
Officers ordered Blevins not to move before they used a Taser on the fleeing man, said another witness James Lark, who added that he heard up to 12 shots fired by the police. “They opened up on him right there in the alley,” Lark noted.
Some witnesses said the police shot him in the back as he ran away, WCCO radio reported.
This latest shooting comes on the heels of an East Pittsburgh police officer gunning down 17-year-old Antwon Rose on Tuesday after a traffic stop, shooting the honor student in the back as he fled.
Meanwhile, Minneapolis officials are calling for calm. There will be “absolute transparency” in the investigation, which the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will lead, the city’s Black police chief, Medaria Arradondo, pledged, standing alongside Mayor Jacob Frey at a news conference on Saturday night, according to Star Tribune.