Family of black man killed by police calls officers’ account “untrue”

More protests are expected in Minneapolis over the decision not to charge officers involved in the June 23 deadly shooting of Thurman Blevins. The two Minneapolis officers involved say he pointed a gun at them during a short chase.  CBS News’ Dean Reynolds spoke to Blevins’ sister and cousin who dispute the officers’ version of events.

Blevins’ sister Darlynn and cousin Sydnee Brown admitted he had a gun on him but say he was scared for his life when he ran from police.

“It was the way that they approached him when they came out of the vehicle,” Darlynn said. “I mean, who else is not going to run if somebody is behind me telling me ‘I’m going to shoot you. I’m going to kill you.'”

After a two-block chase, officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly opened fire 14 times and killed Blevins. Moments before they shot, the police say bodycam video shows Blevins turn toward the officers with a gun in hand ready to fire – something both officers say happened.

“Before I pulled the trigger, when the gun came out, I feared for my life. I feared for my partner’s life,” Schmidt said.

“I remember seeing the barrel of that gun pointed right at me and I’m pretty sure he got a shot off and in about another quarter of a second I have my gun up and now I’m firing shots back at him,” Kelly said.

Blevins’ sister Darlynn said the officers’ account is “untrue.”

“We believe that is false and we are calling for a third-party investigation in regards to that,” Sydnee said.

The family believes it did not matter how Blevins responded, the officers were intent on coming out shooting.

Asked if she thinks cops would have shot her brother even if he had his hands up, Darlynn said, “It happens all the time. It happens all the time with black men. That doesn’t mean that they’re going to not shoot him.”

The family also said they want the case reopened and will pursue all possible avenues against the officers. That could be difficult as it’s very rare for a police officer to be charged if there is believed to be cause.

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