MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On Monday, WCCO-TV talked with a use of force expert who shared his opinion on the officers’ actions in the Thurman Blevins shooting.
Retired Minneapolis police officer Michael Quinn spent 23 years with the department, including time leading the department’s training academy.
“The danger is…you have a man with a gun,” he said. “You’ve already had a report that he’s fired some shots. You see the gun, you know he has it, he’s running with it.”
He agrees with the Hennepin County Attorney’s decision not to charge officers Ryan Kelly and Justin Schmidt.
“I thought these officers did what they had to do,” he said. “I thought it was very clear that they didn’t want to. The length of the chase, which seems short at 44 seconds, but it’s a couple of blocks.”
Quinn says when it becomes clear that Blevins has a gun in his hand as he is running, the officers really had no option but to shoot.
“The other danger you have is if he has got that gun in his hand, it only takes split second once he sees where you are to turn and shoot,” Quinn said. “He doesn’t have to turn toward you, he can shoot from his side, from over his shoulder.”
He says running away from an officer complicates the situation.
“You’ve got to expect, if they are running, there is a reason they are running, so…that is the first thing that enters your mind,” he said, adding: “If he escapes…is he going to be an immediate threat of bodily harm to someone else? In a case like that, which I think the officers had here, then yes, deadly force is justified.”
Quinn says that it’s important to note body cameras capture a limited view of what is happening at a scene. An officer is actually able to see and hear much more than what appears on video.