Deona Marie Knajdek was at an Uptown intersection mourning the death of Winston Smith with other protesters when a man rammed his car at high speed into Knadjek’s vehicle, which was parked to shield the crowd from traffic. Knadjek was killed and three others
Tiffany Bui reports:
June 16 would have been Deona Marie Knajdek’s 32nd birthday.
On Sunday, the mother of two was at an Uptown intersection mourning the death of Winston Smith with other protesters. A white man rammed his car at high speed into Knadjek’s vehicle, which was parked to shield the crowd from traffic. Knadjek, who was white, was killed and three others were injured.
Bystanders apprehended the man until police arrived – and were shocked at how officers treated them. DJ Hooker, an organizer with Twin Cities Justice 4 Jamar, said the officers who arrived at the scene wouldn’t listen as protesters tried to explain where the driver was.
“The cops decided that they were just going to start screaming that they were going to mace us, they came in with their big guns drawn,” Hooker said. “And just to have the cops come over and treat us like we were the villains or like we were the ones that were attacking people seemed absolutely crazy.”
On a livestream video recorded by local artist Lavish Mack, a uniformed officer can be seen yelling at bystanders who are demanding an ambulance for Knadjek.
Lavish Mack: Get an ambulance! Where’s the [expletive] ambulance?!
Police officer: It’s on it’s way! It’d be here a lot sooner if you guys weren’t in the [expletive] street!
Activists held a press conference at the State Capitol Monday, where legislators have yet to pass a police reform bill. Representative John Thompson, a friend of Philando Castile’s, said the activists wouldn’t have been there if they had passed “meaningful legislation.”
“For Christ’s sake, Deona Marie will still be here because she wouldn’t be outside protesting injustice! C’mon y’all. We’re losing our lives here,” said Thompson.
Minneapolis city workers and armed police officers arrived in Uptown Tuesday afternoon to remove barriers created by activists to shield the vigil site for Winston Smith. Those holding space put up new barriers in response; Mayor Jacob Frey has vowed to remove those as well.
Photo Credit: King Demetrius
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