Vigil, protests held over man killed by Minnesota deputies

A crowd of people gather around for a vigil.
People place flowers during a vigil at the site where Winston Boogie Smith was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Stephen Maturen | Getty Images

Updated: 7:45 a.m., June 6 | Posted: 7:30 a.m., June 5

Protesters faced off with officers in Minneapolis early Saturday over the shooting death of a man by members of a U.S. Marshals task force.

Family, friends and protesters held a vigil and rally near where Winston Boogie Smith, 32, was killed. People placed flowers and candles at the site of the shooting.

Members of Smith’s family are demanding immediate release of any surrounding surveillance video.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension — which is investigating the shooting — said Friday that the deputies were part of the U.S. Marshals Service North Star fugitive task force, which "does not allow the use of body cameras."

However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office released a statement Saturday pointing to a October 2020 policy change which “permit (task force officers) to utilize body-worn cameras on federal task forces.” They said the U.S. Marshals Service began to implement the new policy in February 2021.

The BCA said there is no squad car video of the shooting either.

A group of people stands in the street
People rally to demand justice for Winston Boogie Smith outside Stella's Fish Cafe on June 4 in Minneapolis.
Stephen Maturen | Getty Images

“At this point, we just need justice. We need cameras. We need whatever. We need all that ASAP,” said Taylor Lynn on Friday afternoon. Lynn said Smith was her best friend.

Photos following the vigil showed dumpster fires in the street and a line of officers standing guard. It was the second night of protests in response to the fatal shooting Thursday in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood.

A woman stands as police officers approach.
Police stand guard after protesters set fire to dumpsters on the street after a vigil was held for Winston Boogie Smith Jr. early on Saturday.
Christian Monterrosa | AP

Police said 27 people were arrested in the protest, with 26 accused of rioting and one facing a weapons charge. No injuries were reported. Some businesses sustained damage, police said.

Authorities said Friday that Smith was wanted on a weapons violation and fired a gun before two deputies shot him while he was inside a parked vehicle. Members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force were trying to arrest him on a warrant for allegedly being a felon in possession of a gun.

Family and friends described Smith as a father of three who was often harassed by police. They are demanding transparency in the investigation and have asked that anyone who might have video footage to come forward.

Police said some people vandalized buildings and stole from businesses after the shooting Thursday. Nine people were arrested on possible charges including suspicion of riot, assault, arson and damage to property.

The fatal shooting comes as Minneapolis has been on edge since the death of George Floyd just over a year ago, and the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by an officer in nearby Brooklyn Center in April.

MPR News staff contributed to this report.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.