Mpls council member Cunningham reflects on Blevins shooting, body camera

Sunday’s release of body camera video of the Thurman Blevins’ shooting marked the first time a Minneapolis officer-involved shooting was recorded and made public.

After viewing the video, Minneapolis City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham said he knows that with transparency comes the shock of seeing the event itself.

“I think it adds a layer of trauma that we haven’t had to experience before,” Cunningham said. “The community is in pain right now, and one of the reasons I was elected as city council member is because my job is to be able to help translate between community and the systems and in particular City Hall.”

Cunningham is going into his eighth month representing the 4th ward, narrowly beating longtime council member Barb Johnson. Cunningham said he doesn’t want to get into opinions about the police or the protests, as he doesn’t believe it’s his job to take sides.

Rather, he said it’s his job to listen and to figure out community approaches to prevent violence of all kinds. 

“A lot of times, the conversation gets broken up when we talk about violence. But really, it’s the braiding of violence in the community, violence in the home and violence between officers and the community. We have to make sure we’re addressing all of that. So my job as council member, as the chair, is I get to be the champion for violence prevention efforts that are working,” Cunningham said.