By Abayomi Azikiwe, June 13, 2021
Demonstrations have taken place in Minneapolis since June 3 when news quickly spread throughout the city saying yet another Black man was gunned down by law-enforcement.
On June 3-4 numerous businesses were damaged, and property taken, when crowds gathered during a police examination of the area where the shooting occurred. Nine people were arrested in the immediate hours after the killing.
Tensions had already escalated earlier on June 3 when the city removed a barrier erected around what has become known as “George Floyd Square”, marking where the horrendous police execution took place on May 25 of 2020. Residents in the area quickly set up other barriers preventing normal traffic at the thoroughfare around 38th and Chicago.
Initial reports in the corporate media from the Uptown section of the municipality indicated that the victim wanted on a murder warrant was shot to death by County sheriff deputies. Several hours after, however, it was revealed that the man was not wanted for murder and was killed by a multi-jurisdictional squad operating within a fugitive task force attempting to serve a warrant. News reports were later corrected to indicate that the victim was not wanted for murder.
The Marshals claim that the victim, identified as Winston Boogie Smith, Jr., 32, a father of three, was being arrested on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Even the local Minneapolis StarTribune was forced to print a correction in regard to the circumstances surrounding the killing of Smith.
Witnesses in the vicinity said that they heard several gunshots in connection with the incident which occurred in a parking structure. The deputies involved in Smith’s death have been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation by the federal agencies.
Federal law-enforcement agents claim that Smith was sitting in a parked car and purportedly failed to comply with commands by the officers. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under which the agents are assigned have said that Smith had produced a weapon prompting a fatal response.
Emergency medical personnel summoned to the incident later pronounced Smith dead at the scene. A spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals was quoted in the StarTribune saying that the warrant for Smith’s arrest was issued in the state of Minnesota.
There was a woman in the vehicle with Smith who was injured by flying glass. No information is available about the number of police agencies involved in the task force. Media reports say two officers fired their weapons at the vehicle occupied by Smith and the unidentified woman.
A friend of Smith, Shelly Hopkins, questioned the official narrative being promoted by the Marshals. The circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear while the federal law-enforcement agencies attempt to justify the death of Smith.
Hopkins was quoted by the Associated Press as saying:
“I wasn’t there. I don’t know exactly what happened. But I know him. And he didn’t deserve that… He had the best heart out of anybody I’ve ever met in my life.”
Another close friend of Smith, Waylon Hughes, told the Associated Press as well that she was not aware that the victim carried a firearm. Her assessment of Smith was that he cared very much about his children and friends.
The victim’s brother, Kidale Smith, questioned the law-enforcement version of events which resulted in Winston’s shooting death. Smith emphasized:
“This man had a family, and he’s just like anybody else. (People) always try to pin something on a man and try to identify him as a criminal, especially if he’s Black. You’ve got seven unmarked cars and you shoot a man in his car. You don’t even give him a chance to get out… You’re the U.S. Marshals. You’re supposed to be highly trained men, and you can’t handle a simple situation?….”