Justice for Thurman Blevins
On the evening of June 23rd, Thurman Blevins, a 31 year old black male, was murdered by police in North Minneapolis. In response, a handful of activist groups planned two events for the following day. The first was an emergency protest outside of the Fourth precinct, the second a vigil/rally in the intersection near Blevin’s home. The organizers included Blue Lies Matter, NAACP Minneapolis, The New North, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities metro, Native Lives Matter, Cop Watch Minneapolis, Showing Up For Racial Justice Minnesota(SURG MN), Justice 4 Cordale Handy, Movement Support Network, Justice4MarcusGolden, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, and Communities United Against Police Brutality(CUAPB).
At 5:30 MPD received and responded to two calls reporting gunfire from the 46th and Camden intersection of North Minneapolis. As of the writing of this piece, it remains unconfirmed whether or not Blevins was involved with the original incident, however community & witness reports overwhelmingly report it unlikely. Following the call, MPD patrol car #420 stopped in front of Blevin’s home, where he was sitting on the curb having a drink with his girlfriend. The two responding officers then proceeded to tase Blevins without questioning him. According to witness reports, Blevins then ran, scared, with the two officers chasing him on foot through multiple blocks of his neighborhood. The officers fired their weapons during the chase, and Blevins was pronounced dead on the scene.
The MPD seemed to expect the public outcry that followed the incident, immediately blocking off multiple blocks surrounding Blevin’s body, and lining up in riot formation. Family, friends, and community members flooded the scene. In a video posted by Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, a woman is handcuffed and taken away in a police car. She claims police planted a gun. Many details of the case are disputed, including whether or not Blevins had a gun. But as several activists have pointed out, it is not a crime to carry a gun. The police, Mayor Jacob Frey, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are providing a very different narrative than accounts from Blevin’s family, friends, and community. Independent media outlet Unicorn Riot stayed on the scene for hours following the incident, and conducted many interviews on camera.
Both events planned in response for the following day (June 24) had a large turnout, and high energy. The Fourth Precinct even closed for the day in anticipation of protests. Many people spoke outside of the precinct, including former mayoral candidate Nekima Levy-Pounds.
That evening, the intersection outside of Blevin’s home was blocked off for a rally and a candlelight vigil. More people were allowed the opportunity to speak, including family members. The candlelight vigil was led in song by Krysta Rayford, a Minneapolis based performing musician known as K.Raydio.