Winston Smith was remembered at his funeral Saturday as a loving father who put his friends and family ahead of himself.
Those relatives and friends gathered Saturday morning at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis, just over a week after Smith, 32, was fatally shot by sheriff's deputies as a U.S. Marshals task force attempted to arrest him.
Speakers at the service called for justice for Smith, while also recalling the laughter and joy he brought to their lives.
"I just want you to remember about my brother Winston — he was truly a ray of sunshine. The kindest, sweetest, most joyful person," Smith's sister Tieshia Floyd told the crowd gathered at Shiloh Temple. "That's what I want you all to leave with, and remember him."
Grow the Future of Public Media
MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!
Kidale Smith recounted how his brother Winston always stood up for him.
"It's like having an angel right there in front of you — and this is what people are not putting out there," Kidale Smith said. "This man protected his family, and all he wanted was love and respect. And to have such a disrespectful, gruesome way to go out — man, I'm not going to let that slide."
A rally in remembrance of Winston Smith is scheduled for Sunday afternoon near the parking garage where Smith was shot, in the Uptown area of Minneapolis.
Members of the federal task force were attempting to arrest Smith on a firearms warrant on June 3 when he was shot multiple times by Ramsey and Hennepin County sheriff’s deputies who were part of the unit and working undercover, authorities said.
There is no known video of what happened.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the killing, has said that evidence at the scene indicates that Smith fired a weapon from inside a vehicle.
But a woman who says she was with Smith when he was killed said Thursday through her attorneys that she never saw a gun on Smith and never saw one in his vehicle, contradicting the initial law enforcement report.
The lack of body camera footage has raised questions in Minnesota, as Smith’s family members and activists continue to demand transparency. Activists have said the BCA should not be investigating, alleging there is a conflict of interest when police investigate police.
Attorneys for the George Floyd and Daunte Wright families said they are now representing Smith’s family.
Pastor Carmen Means delivered the eulogy at Saturday's funeral. She gave those gathered a call to action, telling them there is work to be done so that Smith's death is not in vain.
"This can't be the end of the story," she said. "You've got to use your influence. You have to use your platform. You have to understand that it's not about just this. We have to demand that justice shows up and if she refuses to come, quit giving her a choice — we got to swoop her up and go get her."