On June 3 members of a federal task force shot Smith on top of a parking garage in Uptown. According to authorities, they were attempting to arrest him when he fired his weapon from the vehicle. But according to an eyewitness’ attorney, Smith didn’t have a gun.
Feven Gerezgiher reports:
Over the weekend, both a funeral and a rally were held for Winston Smith, a 32-year-old Black man. On June 3 members of a federal task force shot Smith on top of a parking garage in Uptown. Authorities said he had a warrant for a felony firearm violation. They said they were attempting to arrest him when he fired his weapon from the vehicle.
At a press conference late last week, legal representatives for the only eyewitness to the incident came forward.
“She never saw a gun on Winston Smith and she never saw a gun inside the vehicle at any time,” said attorney Racey Rodne.
The eyewitness was in the car with Smith after a lunch date when deputies circled and fired at them from unmarked vehicles.
“We now ask for the government to come forward and show us what they have to support this narrative that they have created which has already been disproved in part from the outset and is now contradicted here today,” said Jeff Storms, the lawyer representing Smith’s family.
The absence of body camera footage has been a point of contention. Both the Hennepin and Ramsey county sheriff’s offices have stated they will no longer be participating in the federal task force until body cameras are implemented. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) reports that deputies from both departments fired the shots that killed Smith.
“Typically when a U.S. Marshal Service in a particular district kills someone, it is the local bureaucratic agency that investigates those police killings,” said lawyer and activist Nekima Levy Armstrong. “Usually, it is not the federal government. And that’s been part of the problem.”
Levy Armstrong said the BCA is unsuitable to lead investigations, in part due to conflicts of interest. She is pressing the White House to establish an independent investigation into Smith’s death.
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