Hundreds call for answers, justice in fatal shooting of Winston Smith

People march down a street
People march down Lake Street in Uptown Minneapolis on Sunday, after a rally calling for justice for Winston Smith. Smith was fatally shot by law enforcement officers in an Uptown parking ramp on June 3.
Jon Collins | MPR News

A crowd gathered Sunday atop the Uptown Minneapolis parking ramp where Winston Smith was fatally shot by law enforcement officers on June 3.

The rally of several hundred people and subsequent march on Lake Street came a day after Smith's friends and family gathered for his funeral.

At both events, there were calls for answers about what took place when a U.S. Marshals task force confronted Smith, attempting to arrest him on a firearms warrant.

And there were calls for justice, as a lack of video footage of the shooting — and the statement of a witness who disputes the initial law enforcement account — have raised questions.

The names of the sheriff's deputies who were part of the federal task force and fired at Smith have not been released. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is handling the investigation and has released few details.

Messages are painted on concrete
Messages, including one reading "Stop the cover up," are painted on concrete outside the parking garage where Winston Smith was fatally shot by law enforcement in the Uptown area of Minneapolis on June 3. These signs were photographed on Sunday.
Jon Collins | MPR News

"Law enforcement continue to play cloak and dagger games with the people," Johnathon McClellan of the Minnesota Justice Coalition said at Sunday's rally. "The family has questions about who killed their loved one (and) we shouldn’t have to wait until the city is burning, businesses are destroyed, community resources are exhausted, for law enforcement to do the right thing by the people."

Activist Toussaint Morrison told the crowd that businesses and residents in the area should expect to see more protests and marches and rallies in the coming months.

"We’re here with candles, we’re here with cameras, we’re here with the truth, we’re here with our voices, we’re here with our tears, we're here with our hearts — because this is going to be the summer of Winston Smith," Morrison said.

McClellan also urged lawmakers to pass police reform legislation, saying people are tired of "lip service" from elected officials.

"Minnesota and our country needs legislation that values human life, promotes accountability and transparency, and allows victims to get justice," he said.

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