MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A Minnesota prosecutor examines law enforcement evidence of Winston Smith Jr.’s death in a June arrest while sitting in an SUV on a Minneapolis parking ramp .
Crow Wing County District Attorney Donald Ryan told the Star Tribune he would review the evidence himself and hopes to have a prosecution decision by mid-October.
Two members of a US Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force shot Smith on June 3 as they attempted to arrest him for allegedly being a felon in possession of a gun, an investigation has revealed preliminary.
Ryan, whose Brainerd office is located 125 miles (201 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis, said he was asked to take the case into his own hands because counties closer to the Twin Cities had conflicts. . The marshals’ service task force members who fired their guns were deputies to the Ramsey County and Hennepin County sheriffs, both located in the metro area. A third county in the metropolitan area also had at least one deputy on the task force.
Ryan said he had had “a few” cases of force murder in the police force since his election in 1994 and cannot recall ever deciding to charge an officer. Ryan said he understands the fatal police shootings have often sparked protests and civil unrest, but that won’t affect his decision.
“I have a case, I will look at the evidence and I will make the decision that the evidence calls for,” he said.
Authorities said Smith, who was black, showed a handgun and shot it. Lawyers for a woman who was with him, Norhan Askar, said authorities did not identify themselves as law enforcement when they surrounded the SUV and she never saw a weapon on Smith or in his vehicle. She said Smith was shot after holding up a cell phone to start recording.
The two MPs who shot Smith were working undercover so their names cannot be released under state law, authorities said.
State investigators also said they were not aware of any video of the shooting. The lack of video has raised questions, and Smith’s family members and activists have called for transparency.
When Smith was killed, Minneapolis was already on edge after the death of George Floyd over a year earlier and the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by an officer at the nearby Brooklyn Center in April.
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