US Marshals task force moved in on Winston Boogie Smith, outside a parking garage at around 2pm on Thursday, 3 miles away from George Floyd Square in Minneapolis which had been dismantled in a controversial move by the city earlier in the day
Hip hop artist Smith, aka ‘Wince Me Boi‘, who is Black, was in a parked SUV on the ramp of a car park when officers moved in on him to serve an arrest warrant because he was in violation of of his probation for being a felon in possession of a firearm
A US Marshals spokesperson said Smith, 32, ‘produced a handgun resulting in task force members firing upon the subject’
Diners at a nearby restaurant heard at least a dozen shots fired – Smith died at the scene while his female passenger, who was injured by shattered glass, was dragged out and arrested
The warrant was issued by authorities after the rapper posted an image of a gun and bullets on Instagram – which violated his probation conditions
The shooting happened after a crew of city workers began dismantling concrete barriers erected around George Floyd Square which blocked the thoroughfare to the public
The memorial was set up after Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was murdered in May 2020 by Minneapolis cops during an arrest
Protests had already broken out among activists angered by the removal of the shrine when news of the shooting reached them
The shooting extended a night of protests, as unhappy locals gathered around the the car park where Smith was killed, before they barricaded off streets and a dumpster was set on fire
In protests that lasted till early Friday, several businesses were raided and damaged before police finally dispersed the rioters with tear gas
The victim of Thursday’s fatal shooting in Minneapolis on Thursday by members of a US Marshals task force for allegedly pulling a gun on them as they attempted to serve an arrest warrant has been identified as a musician with an extensive criminal record who was previously convicted of a felony aggravated robbery, according to law enforcement sources.
The fatal shooting, coupled with the dismantling of George Floyd Square, sparked bouts of civil unrest, vandalism and looting of businesses overnight in Minneapolis, leading to multiple arrests.
Although his identity has not been officially confirmed by the authorities, friends and family on Friday named the deceased suspect as 32-year-old Winston Boogie Smith, a father-of-two from Minneapolis.
A US Marshals task force moved in on Smith who was wanted ‘on a state arrest warrant’ for a probation violation – a felon in possession of a firearm – after he posted a picture of what appeared to be himself sitting in a car with a gun and a box of bullets.
As the marshalls approached him outside a parking garage at around 2pm on Thursday in the Uptown neighborhood, just three miles away from George Floyd Square. Smith, who was in a parked SUV, ‘produced a handgun resulting in task force members firing upon the subject,’ Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department said.
He was pronounced dead at the scene. His female passenger was injured by shattered glass and was taken into custody after being treated for minor injuries.
Smith was a local hip hop artist who performed under the stage name ‘Wince Me Boi’ and also appeared in comedy videos. In January 2020, he released a single dedicated to his children titled Goodbye.
Friends and relatives took to Facebook and Twitter to pay tribute to Smith as news of his killing spread.
According to court records, Smith had racked up at least 20 arrests since 2007 on charges ranging from minor traffic violations to drug and marijuana possession. In 2017, he was convicted of felony aggravated robbery, was handed a three-year stayed sentence and was put on probation.
Under the conditions of his probation, Smith was required to stay in regular contact with his probation officer, submit to random drug testing, find a job and possess no firearms.
After posting an image of a gun and bullets on Instagram, a probation violation hearing was called on May 5. WCCO reported that when Smith failed to show up at the hearing, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Officers who were involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave. Minneapolis police played no role in the incident.
A spokeswoman with the US Marshals said the Marshals lead the joint task force executing the arrest, which is comprised of several agencies, including sheriff’s offices from Hennepin, Anoka and Ramsey counties, the Minnesota Department of Corrections and the Department of Homeland Security.
The gunfire erupted on the fifth floor of a parking ramp at West Lake Street and South Fremont Avenue.
A bartender from a nearby business said several of his patrons heard eight to a dozen shots, then saw officers grab the female passenger from the suspect’s vehicle.
A neighbor who lives across from the parking ramp told the paper she heard more than a dozen shots, followed by a pause, and then even more shots.
Smith had received a stayed sentence and was placed on probation stemming from a 2017 conviction on an aggravated robbery charge.
The killing upset his family and riled an already tense community. Tamara Wilson, who identified herself as Smith’s younger sister, accused law enforcement officials of trying to assassinate her brother’s character after taking his life.
Minneapolis police said news of the shooting sparked ‘numerous’ instances of vandalism and looting overnight.
The shooting came after crews began dismantling concrete barriers around the so-called ‘autonomous zone’ of George Floyd Square, which were set up as a memorial after he was murdered in May 2020.
Protests had already broken out among activists angered by the removal of the shrine when news of the shooting in Uptown reached them.
People soon gathered in Uptown, crowding around the crime scene and chanting anti-police slogans, before they barricaded off Lake Street and Girard Avenue where a dumpster was torched.
The trash receptacle eventually melted into a ‘puddle of fire,’ a TV reporter at the scene tweeted. Several dozen protesters were observed throwing more items into the dumpster to feed the blaze.
It took police more than 40 minutes to respond and by the time they arrived cars and motorcycles had shown up to help protesters block off the streets, according to independent journalist Rebecca Brannon.
Brannon filmed the moment police began ‘aggressively’ moving in on protesters, shooting tear gas into the intersection to clear them out.
Firefighters were later filmed extinguishing the fire and cleaning up the intersection.
Fighting and looting broke out across the city as the streets remained filled with protesters until the early hours of the morning. Several stores and businesses were either raided by looters and officers were later deployed to prevent further damage to property.
Buildings near the scene of the shooting were vandalized and spray-painted with the words, ‘Kill cops’ and ‘No trial for them’, while others hurled abuse at officers calling them, ‘F***ing Nazis’ and ‘White supremacists.’The shooting took place three miles away from George Floyd Square in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis, but police allegedly failed to respond for more than 40 minutes as the fire raged.
Protesters barricaded off Lake Street and Girard Avenue before starting the fire.
Minneapolis police used tear gas on protesters who lit fires that burned for more than 40 minutes after city workers began dismantling George Floyd Square.
The riot came after crews began dismantling George Floyd Square in the early hours of Thursday morning, surprising many residents waking up. Crews removed concrete barriers as well as artwork, flowers and other memorial items from the intersection where Floyd was murdered last year.
A fist sculpture, which stands several feet tall and created a traffic roundabout, will remain in the middle of the intersection.
The removal of barriers means traffic can once again begin to flow through the intersection, although for now the fist statue will serve as a makeshift roundabout.
Construction workers dismantle George Floyd square in Minneapolis early Thursday morning sparking protests
Floyd was killed during an arrest in May 2020 by Derek Chauvin. The former Minneapolis police officer was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes as Floyd pleaded for air while handcuffed face down on the street.
Chauvin has also been indicted on federal charges alleging he violated Floyd’s civil rights, as well as the civil rights of a 14-year-old he restrained in a 2017 arrest.
The three other former Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s death were also charged with federal civil rights violations. They await trial in state court on aiding and abetting counts.
Within four hours, work in the area was complete, though protesters spent time shouting ‘no justice, no peace’ during some of the dismantling.
Additionally, two news photographers trying to document what was taking place were met with resistance, with one being threatened physically.
After the square was cleared, many people remained in the area to observe what had just taken place, although the dismantling passed-off peacefully, with community group members and protesters later seen eating coffee and donuts.
The garden that was in front of the sculpture will be moved to another location nearby, a community spokesperson said.
A joint statement was issued by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and City Council Member Alondra Cano stating that ‘The City’s three guiding principles for the reconnection of 38th and Chicago have been community safety, racial healing and economic stability and development for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and other communities of color.’ Adding that ‘the Agape Movement brought together community leadership to begin facilitating the phased reconnection this morning, with the City playing a supportive role. We are grateful for the partnership.
‘We are collectively committed to establishing a permanent memorial at the intersection, preserving the artwork, and making the area an enduring space for racial healing,’ the release stated.
Concluding that, ‘alongside City leadership, we have met on a regular basis with community members to discuss both the short-term path toward reconnecting this area and the long-term plan for the neighborhood with sustained investments to help restore and heal the community.’
he intersection at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue has been closed to traffic and became a primary gathering place for those mourning Floyd’s death. Furthermore the area has seen a spike in gun violence in recent months, with shooting victims dragged to ambulances that were unable to get into the square because of the barriers.
In the past, Mayor Jacob Frey has called for a ‘phased reopening’ of the square.
The community group Agape, which contracted with the city to keep watch over the area, worked to coordinate the effort, according to city spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie.
Agape told KTSP that the the barricades were being removed for security purposes, as well as to promote community healing: ‘There’s a chance and a time for this community to get back to a new normal. That’s what we’re trying to establish,’ said Agape Senior Advisor, Steve Floyd.
‘The fist sculpture is going to remain in the roundabout,’ McKenzie said.
The city is replacing the concrete barriers around the sculpture itself, with ‘bumpouts’ around the sculpture, while a permanent solution regarding the memorial is being discussed between the city, community members, and Floyd’s family.
Some neighborhood residents and others have expressed frustration that the intersection has been closed to private and transit vehicles for nearly a year. Similarly a bus route that went through the intersection has been unusable for a year, though service should be restored soon after the square is cleared.