Crime Attorneys: Woman never saw a gun on man shot by task force
Deputies who killed man had body cams, couldn't use them
WASHINGTON (AP) — The two sheriff’s deputies who shot and killed a Black man while assigned to a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force had been told they could not use their body-worn cameras, despite a change in Justice Department policy to allow cameras months before the shooting. The shooting of Winston Boogie Smith Jr. last week has sparked nights of protests in Minneapolis — a city still reeling from the death of George Floyd at the hands of police — and is raising questions about the implementation of a Justice Department policy change that shifted away from its longstanding rule prohibiting the tool.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The woman who was in a vehicle when members of a federal U.S. Marshals Service task forcelast 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.
A Black man was fatally shot by deputies in Minneapolis. Authorities say there's no bodycam video. Activists call it 'reckless.'
Protests continue over the death of Winston Smith Jr. Activists say the U.S. Marshals body camera policy is "an intentional lack of transparency."Local activists groups have demanded Ramona Dohman step down as head of the U.S. Marshals Service in the state and protested outside her home Tuesday. Dohman, a 37-year law enforcement veteran, was nominated by President Donald Trump and sworn in June 2019.
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.”
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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 ofjust over a year ago, and the fatal shooting of by an officer in nearby Brooklyn Center in April.
Smith's shootings sparkedas 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 — so authorities say state law bars them from releasing their names.
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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.”
The lack of body camera footage of the shooting has raised questions in Minnesota, as Smith’s family members and activists continue to demand transparency.
Local officials say the deputies were assigned body cameras, but, despite an October change in Justice Department policy that would have allowed them to be used. The issue led the Ramsey County sheriff to pull his deputies off the task force until body cameras are authorized.
This week, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Lisa Monaco ordered Justice Department law enforcement officers to wear body cameras when making planned arrests or serving search warrants. The directive orders the heads of the Marshals Service, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to develop body-worn camera policies within 30 days.
Gun evidence detailed in Minneapolis task force shooting .
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Newly filed court documents detail gun evidence recovered from the scene of a fatal shooting of a driver during an arrest attempt by members of a federal task force in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has said evidence indicates Winston Boogie Smith Jr., who was Black, fired his gun before he was killed June 3 in a parking ramp in the city's Uptown neighborhood by members of a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force. Authorities have said Smith was wanted on a warrant for being a felon in possession of a gun.