MINNEAPOLIS — A woman who was in a vehicle when members of a federal US Marshals Service task force fatally shot the driver last week said she never saw a gun at the man or in the vehicle, her lawyers said Thursday. Said to
The statement from female attorneys contradicts investigators’ claims that Winston Boogie Smith Jr., who was black, displayed a handgun before task force officers opened fire at a parking ramp in Minneapolis’s Uptown neighborhood on June 3. Officials have also said that evidence indicated that Smith fired his gun, adding that a handgun and spent cartridge cases were found inside the vehicle.
The woman’s attorneys, Christopher Nguyen and Recy Rodney, said their client “never saw a gun fired at Winston Smith and he never saw a gun inside the vehicle — at any time.”
Lawyers did not disclose the name of the woman who was on a lunch date with Smith. He asked the public to respect her privacy and her “will to heal as she recovers from this deep trauma.” He did not elaborate on the nature of any bodily injuries he received; Officials said the woman suffered injuries from broken glass due to the bullet injury.
The woman did not attend a press conference with her lawyers. He did not elaborate on his experience or answer questions.
Smith, 32, of St. Paul died as officers were trying to arrest him over a weapons violation. The US Marshals Service stated that he was allegedly wanted to be a felon in possession of a firearm and that Smith, who was in a parked vehicle, did not comply and “produced a handgun that resulted in the task force’s handling of the firearm”. Members were firing on the subject.”
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Appearance has said evidence suggests Smith fired his gun – a handgun and spent cartridge cases were found inside the car. When asked to respond to the woman’s conflicting account that she did not see the gun, Public Safety Department spokesman Bruce Gordon said the BCA stood by its earlier statement.
Smith’s shooting took place in a city that has been on edge since the death of George Floyd a year ago, and the fatal shooting of Don’t Wright by an officer at the nearby Brooklyn Center in April.
Smith’s shooting sparked days of protests in the Uptown neighborhood as members of his family and community have called for transparency. Officials have said there is no body camera or squad camera footage of the shooting. In addition, two task force members who fired at Smith — a sheriff’s deputy from Ramsey County and one from Hennepin County — were working in secret That’s why officials say state law prevents them from releasing their names.
Nguyen and Rodney said they hope the commitments made by law enforcement to work toward greater transparency and accountability since Floyd’s death “will be borne through their actions as we shed light on the matter.” work for why Winston Smith lost his life last Thursday while meeting over a lunch.”
Smith’s family attorney, Jeff Storms, said the government had now heard “the public’s evidence” and that the people deserved to hear the government’s evidence in the case.
“There is a lack of transparency from the lack of body cameras. Now we ask the government to come forward and show us what it has to do to support this narrative that they have created…It has been denied here today. “
The BCA said on Thursday that it would release all public data once the investigation is closed. Until then, the agency said, state law prevents it from releasing evidence or discussing an open and proactive investigation. After the BCA completes its work, it will submit its findings to the prosecutor for review.
The lack of body camera footage of the shooting has raised questions in Minnesota, as Smith’s family members and activists are calling for transparency. On Thursday, activists also called for the removal of Minnesota officials from federal task forces, and they said the BCA should not investigate, alleging that there is a conflict of interest when the police conduct investigations.
Minneapolis NAACP President Angela Rose Myers was among those calling for transparency and accountability.
“Just because a video of Winston Smith’s murder didn’t go viral doesn’t mean his life didn’t matter,” she said.
Local officials say the task force’s deputy was assigned body cameras, but Was told by the US Marshals Service that they could not use them, despite an October change in Justice Department policy that would have allowed them to be used. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office have said they will not participate in the task force until cameras are permitted.
This week, Deputy US Attorney General Lisa Monaco ordered Justice Department law enforcement officers to wear body cameras while serving a planned arrest or search warrant. The directive orders the heads of the Marshall Service, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to develop body-worn camera policies within 30 days.
Credit: www.nbcnews.com /