“She has never seen a gun in Winston Smith and has never seen a gun in the vehicle at any time,” read attorney Racey Rodne, who is representing the 27-year-old woman.
MINNEAPOLIS – The woman who was in the vehicle with the man shot dead by limbs from a US Marshals Fugitive Task Force earlier this month says he has never seen a gun in the man’s possession, nor has he ever seen a gun inside the vehicle at the time of the shooting.
On June 3, police shot and killed a man, later identified as Winston Smith, on a parking ramp in Uptown Minneapolis. According to a press release from the Minnesota Department of Criminal Arrest, the task force members – who were deputies from the county sheriff’s offices in Hennepin and Ramsey – said they opened fire after Smith shot them through the back window of your vehicle. A 27-year-old woman was inside the vehicle during the shooting and was transported to an area hospital after being injured by the glass.
On Thursday, Racey Rodne, who is one of the attorneys representing the 27-year-old witness, held a press conference in Minneapolis to read a statement on behalf of his client.
“She never saw a gun in Winston Smith, and she never saw a gun inside the vehicle at any time,” read Rodne.
According to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), Smith was being wanted on a firearm violation warrant.
The BCA, which is conducting the investigation, says it continues to support a previous press release in which it stated: “The evidence at the scene indicates that the man fired his weapon from inside the vehicle. a weapon like spent cartridges from inside the driver’s compartment.
The BCA said the US Marshal Services (USMS) does not allow officers of its North Star Fugitive Task Force to use body cameras, and there is no footage of the shooting squad. But the US Department of Justice changed its body camera policy in October 2020, announcing that it would “allow state, local, territorial, and tribal task force officers to use body-worn cameras on federal task forces across the country.”
Protests took place in the days following the shooting calling for more transparency from investigators and law enforcement agencies, a sentiment shared in the testimony given by the women’s lawyers.
“We are hopeful that assertions of commitment to progress, transparency and accountability by the BCA and other law enforcement agencies since the assassination of George Floyd will be confirmed through their actions as we work to clarify why Winston Smith lost life last Thursday while at a lunchtime,” co-adviser Christopher Nguyen said during the press conference.
A full statement from the BCA for KARE 11 on Thursday night is as follows:
The BCA maintains this statement from the June 4 press release: Evidence at the scene indicates that the man fired his weapon from inside the vehicle. BCA crime scene personnel retrieved a weapon as well as boxes of spent cartridges from inside the driver’s compartment.
As with all officers involved in shooting incidents, the BCA will release all public data when the investigation is closed. Under Minnesota law, the BCA is prohibited from disclosing any evidence or discussing an open and active investigation until it is closed. See the Minn Status section. 13.82 subd.7
Once the investigation is complete, the BCA will provide its findings without recommendation to the appropriate prosecutor for review.