Woman never saw a gun on man shot by task force | #schoolshooting



MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The woman who was in a vehicle when members of a federal U.S. Marshals Service task force fatally shot the driver last week said she never saw a gun on the man or in the vehicle, her attorneys said Thursday.

The statement from the woman’s attorneys disputes investigators’ claims that Winston Boogie Smith Jr., who was Black, displayed a handgun before officers on the task force opened fire on June 3 in a parking ramp in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood. Authorities have also said evidence indicated Smith fired his gun, saying a handgun and spent cartridge cases were found inside the vehicle.

The woman’s attorneys, Christopher Nguyen and Racey Rodne, said their client “never saw a gun on Winston Smith leading up to the shooting and she never saw a gun inside the vehicle — at any time.”

The attorneys did not release the name of the woman, asking the public to respect her privacy and her “desire to heal as she is recovering from this profound trauma.” They did not elaborate on the nature of any physical injuries she received; authorities said the woman had suffered injuries from broken glass as a result of the shooting.

Smith, 32, of St. Paul, was killed as authorities were trying to arrest him on a weapons violation. The U.S. Marshals Service said he was wanted for allegedly being a felon in possession of a firearm and that Smith, who was in a parked vehicle, didn’t comply and “produced a handgun resulting in task force members firing upon the subject.”

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has said evidence indicates Smith fired his gun — a handgun and spent cartridge cases were found inside the car. The Hennepin County medical examiner said Smith died of multiple gunshot wounds.


The shooting of Smith happened in a city that has been on edge since the death of George Floyd just over a year ago, and the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by an officer in nearby Brooklyn Center in April.

Smith’s shootings sparked days of protests in the Uptown neighborhood as his family members and community members have demanded transparency. Authorities have said there is no body camera or squad camera footage of the shooting. In addition, the two task force members who fired at Smith — one sheriff’s deputy from Ramsey County and one from Hennepin County — were working undercover so authorities say state law bars them from releasing their names.

Nguyen and Rodne said in their statement: “We are hopeful claims of commitment to progress in transparency and accountability by the BCA and other law enforcement agencies since the murder of George Floyd will be borne out through their actions as we work to shine a light on why Winston Smith lost his life last Thursday while on a lunch date.”



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