Minneapolis protesters confront police as fires rage during second night of vigil for father of three
The death of a 32-year-old man shot by police in the US has sparked further protests in Minneapolis, the same city where George Floyd died in 2020.
Winston Boogie Smith Jr, 32, was fatally shot by police, who say he fired a gun at officers before being killed.
The shooting happened Thursday in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis.
More recently, an officer fatally shot Daunte Wright in the nearby suburb of Brooklyn Center in the city where Floyd died of suffocation on May 25, 2020, sparking a series of events and becoming a symbol for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Police stand guard after protesters set waste containers on fire after a vigil for Winston Boogie Smith Jr.
During a vigil for Smith, buildings were vandalized and looted, and nine people were arrested on charges including rioting, assault, arson and damage to property.
Photos of the scene show fires in the streets and rows of armed officers standing guard in the city.
It is the second night of protests in response to Smith’s death.
The spot where Smith was fatally shot is marked with graffiti that reads ‘no trace for them’ and ‘Mpls still hate cops.’
Tensions were already high in the city after the crew began removing the concrete barricades that had closed off the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago – the infamous site of Floyd’s death and a so-called “autonomous zone” in the past year.
Gun violence has increased in the city and the victims of the violence vary in age.
Trinity Ottoson-Smith, 9) died after being hit by a bullet when caught in the crossfire of a shooting on May 15.
Protesters were arrested by police after the vigil was held following Smith’s death on Thursday
She was the second child to be shot in Minneapolis in just three weeks. LaDavionne Garrett Jr, 10, was shot while in his parents’ car. He remains in the hospital.
Just two days after Trinity died, six-year-old Aniya Allen was murdered after being shot in the car with her mother on May 17.
There have been 36 homicides in the city so far this year, which is more than double the number at this point last year and more than four times the number in 2019.
The number of car thefts has increased by 222 percent and the number of shootings by 153 percent. 80 percent of the victims are black.
Theft of weapons from vehicles has increased by more than 100 percent and police seized 100 fewer weapons this year than at the same point in 2020.
Winston Boogie Smith Jr (pictured), aged 32, fathered three children drie
The Minneapolis Police Department has lost more than 200 police officers, who have either left the department permanently or been retired from service due to disabilities.
Local activist Marcus X: ‘There are shootings every day and summer hasn’t even started yet. All the police have PTSD, they have left, you don’t see any police patrolling here. I know and the gangs know it.
“I could shoot someone right now and walk five blocks home before the police even come.”
“The police have left and released the gangs.”
Authorities said members of the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force attempted to arrest Smith on Thursday under a warrant for allegedly a felon in possession of a weapon.
The Marshals Service said in a statement that the father-of-three children violated law enforcement and “produced a gun that caused members of the task force to shoot the subject.”
State investigators said there was evidence in the vehicle that Mr Smith was in his car that he had fired his pistol, with empty cartridges found inside the car.
Police keep watch after protesters set fire to garbage containers on the street
He died at the scene and his passenger, a 27-year-old woman, was treated for injuries caused by glass debris.
According to court records, Smith was convicted of a felony in 2017 for assault and theft from his ex-partner. He pleaded guilty to one count of complicity in first-degree aggravated robbery for assaulting his ex-girlfriend while another woman stole her wallet.
He was sentenced to two years in prison, but the prison sentence was postponed by three years, provided he did not break the law.
He was charged with two charges of illegal possession of a firearm in December 2019 and was also charged last year with fleeing police in Hennepin County, Minneapolis.
Smith’s family and friends told the Associate Press that despite his mistakes, he didn’t deserve to be killed.
His mate. Shelly Hopkins, said he had ‘the best of everyone’ [she had] ever met in [her] life.’
Nine people were arrested on suspicion of rioting, assault, arson and damage to property.
“I wasn’t there,” she said. ‘I don’t know exactly what happened. But I know him. And he didn’t deserve it.’
“The two biggest things he cared about in this world were making people happy and being there for his children.”
She also claimed that the police had “tried to bring a case against him that did not exist” and that he had been harassed by the police for some time.
She also said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from his interactions with the police.
Smith’s brother, Kidale Smith, added: ‘This man had a family and he is just like everyone else. [People] always try to pin something on a man and identify him as a criminal, especially if he’s black.’
He also asked for the police report of what happened.
“You have seven unmarked cars and you shoot a man in his car,” he said. “You don’t even give him a chance to get out. You are the US Marshals. You are supposed to be highly educated men, and you can’t handle a simple situation?’
Candles and flowers are lit early on Saturday at a wake for Winston Boogie Smith Jr. regularly
Family and friends have now called for the release of all security and surveillance camera footage in the area.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said the US Marshals Service does not allow officers from the North Star Fugitive Task Force to use body cameras, and there is no footage of the shooting.
But the Department of Justice allows state, local and tribal duty officials to use body cameras.
Authorities are said to be investigating, but no surveillance video has yet been found.