MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey says the body camera footage of the Thurman Blevins shooting may be released after investigators finish interviewing key witnesses.
In a statement Tuesday night, the mayor said that in order for his office to be transparent he could not allow for unnecessary delay in the release of information in connection to the weekend’s fatal police shooting.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: Air Quality Alert Set To Expire Tuesday Afternoon
However, Frey said that two conditions must first be met:
1. Blevins’ family must be consulted.
2. The BCA must complete its interviews with all the key witnesses.
Frey says the process of interviewing the witnesses is already underway, and is expected to be completed soon.
Police shot and killed Blevins early Saturday evening after chasing him for several blocks in north Minneapolis. The BCA reports the 31-year-old was carrying a gun when he ran. The autopsy shows he was shot multiple times.
The shooting has evoked emotion throughout the community, which has called for transparency in the investigation, including releasing body camera video as soon as legally possible.
“We are asking people to remain vigilant in terms of advocating for a release of all public data and information surrounding the death of Thurman Blevins and we are asking for police accountability in this situation,” community advocate Nekima Levy-Pounds said.
Community advocates hope the video will shed light on what happened when the officers, identified Tuesday as Ryan Kelly and Justin Schmidt, pursued Blevins and later fired their weapons.
Police records show Kelly had five complaints against him that were closed with no discipline since joining the department in 2013. Schmidt started with the department a year later in 2014. Two complaints have been closed with no discipline, one remains open.READ MORE: None Hurt After Minneapolis Crews Battle 5 Fires Over 8-Hour Period
Schmidt joined the military after 9/11 and was deployed several times during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
According to Archway Defense, a private protection training company Schmidt contracts with, he’s taught firearms and use of force classes to law enforcement and civilians since 2007.
Frey’s Full Statement On The Release Of Body Camera Footage
Transparency and accountability are of the highest priority for Chief Arradondo and me. Real transparency does not allow for unnecessary delay before information is released. It means full and thoughtful disclosure of information, and an unwavering commitment to fairness and justice.
State law gives authority to law enforcement entities, within certain parameters, to determine when evidence – including body camera footage – is released.
The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), under the leadership of Chief Arradondo, is the law enforcement entity within the city, and the MPD reports to me.
The desire for a transparent process must always be balanced with the need for a complete and fair investigation.
To that end, I have decided to release the body camera footage.
Two things, however, must happen first. The family of Thurman Blevins must be consulted. And the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) needs to have finished interviewing key witnesses.
To ensure the integrity of the investigation, which we have asked the BCA to conduct, it is essential that known key witnesses first be interviewed. That process has already begun, and I trust that it will be done in the near future.MORE NEWS: Man Dies After Dispute Leads To Shooting In North Minneapolis
These interviews must be conducted without interference. Releasing the body camera footage prior to these witness interviews would be harmful to what we as a city collectively want: That the investigation retain its integrity and that we have a thorough and transparent account of the facts.