Tensions remained high in north Minneapolis as state investigators dug into an intensive probe into Saturday night’s fatal police shooting of a 31-year-old black man, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Police have said that Thurman Blevins had been firing a handgun into the air and ground. Some witnesses said he was carrying only a bottle or cup and that they did not see a gun as he fled police during a brief foot chase. Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey promised a full, fair, and swift investigation, saying that footage from body cameras worn by the officers involved could help answer urgent questions. Leslie Badue, president of the Minneapolis NAACP, and others called for the immediate release of that footage, but police officials said they have relinquished all evidence to Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
The officers involved have not yet been identified, but at least two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave. Blevins was shot Saturday afternoon by police officers responding to a report of a man firing a handgun into the air and ground. He died where he was shot, in an alley. As unanswered questions piled up, much of the conversation revolved around allegations of police brutality and racial issues that have inflamed other U.S. cities after police shootings. Sam Sanchez, an organizer for Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar, said that the Arradondo’s promises of reform rang hollow after yet another police shooting. “They want to make us think that something has changed, but it hasn’t,” he said, pointing to several recent controversies surrounding the department, including a draft report that surfaced earlier this month saying that city cops were directing paramedics to sedate people using the powerful tranquilizer ketamine. “People are numb and [police] have a great PR campaign,” he said. Early Sunday, Mayor Frey called Blevins a “victim” in what he described as a “tragedy.” Blevins becomes the 30th person killed by officers since the year 2000 in Minneapolis, according to a Star Tribune database. More than half of the those shot have been black.