Driver believed to ‘drunk or high’ plowed into protesters in Minneapolis, killing a woman before he was pulled from car and beaten at site where Winston Smith was killed on June 3, by law enforcement
Smith, 32, a Black man, was shot dead by US Marshals trying to serve him with an arrest warrant on the ramp of a multi-story car park in uptown Minneapolis
The driver smashed into an SUV used as a temporary road block, before plowing through to the protesters in the Uptown area of Minneapolis late on Sunday, at speeds estimated at over 100 mph
Four people were injured, two protesters were rushed to hospital, but the owner of the SUV, a young black woman, was later pronounced dead
A family member identified 31-year-old Deona M. Knajdek, of Minneapolis, as the person killed
The mother of two daughters was to have celebrated her 32nd birthday on Wednesday
The driver, a White male, was dragged from his car and beaten by irate protesters who detained him
Police on arrival transported the bloodied driver to hospital in handcuffs, after the rough treatment from the crowd
Police believe drink or drugs may have been a factor in the fatal smash
A driver believed to have been drunk or high plowed into people protesting the shooting of a black man in Minneapolis on Sunday severely injuring some of the protesters. The driver who crashed into the parked car killed 31-year-old woman and injured at least two others who had gathered at W. Lake Street and S. Girard Avenue, near where Winston Boogie Smith Jr. was fatally shot by law enforcement on June 3 during an attempt by a U.S. Marshals Service task force to arrest him in a parking ramp.
The white male driver, who police think was under the influence – was pulled from his car and beaten by the crowd before being taken away in handcuffs by police late on Sunday in the Uptown area of Minneapolis.
He struck four people, including the woman, with one eyewitness claiming that he seemed to be doing 100mph shortly before the impact. The female victim was rushed to hospital in a ‘very critical’ condition and died in the early hours of Monday.
Police had not identified the driver or the victim as of Monday, but Garrett Knajdek told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that his older sister, Deona M. Knajdek, of Minneapolis, was the protester who was killed. Police said the victim died at a hospital. She was to have celebrated her 32nd birthday on Wednesday.
One of the other unidentified protester is said to have sustained non life-threatening injuries.
Garrett Knajdek said his sister, “was using her car as a street blockade, and another vehicle struck her vehicle and her vehicle struck her.” She was a mother to daughters ages 11 and 13, was active about many issues surrounding justice. “She’s constantly sacrificing herself for everyone around her,” he said, “no matter the cost, obviously.”
The victim others were demonstrating outside a parking garage where Winston ‘Boogie’ Smith was shot dead earlier this month by US Marshals trying to arrest him on a federal warrant for possession of a firearm.
Smith, a 32-year-old father of three, was killed after task force members surrounded him on the top floor of the parking garage at Seven Points, the shopping mall formerly known as Calhoun Square.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said he fired a gun from his vehicle as the task force tried to arrest him on a warrant from Ramsey County for being a felon in possession of a gun.
An unidentified woman who was with Smith at the time said she never saw him with a weapon, her attorneys said last week. Authorities have said that no body or dash camera or surveillance footage is available in the case.
Smith, who had racked up at least 20 arrests since 2007, has become a talisman for activists who have commandeered the roads where he was shot dead, setting up a shrine, like the one for George Floyd just three miles away.
Police continue to investigate, and have yet to offer a motive for Sunday night’s smash, which is also said to have seen the alleged killer driver ram a car being used to block the road with his SUV. At around 11.40pm on Sunday, the driver sped into this area of Lake Street and S. Girard Avenue.
Footage captured by a protester shows the driver being held in a choke hold on the road as blood pours down his forehead.
The person filming shouts: ‘This n**** just came through 100 miles an hour, smashed this car and he just f***ing killed her.’
The camera pans to a badly damaged SUV across the street where a woman can be seen receiving treatment from other protesters.
The suspect is seen being hauled around by a man who keeps his arm firmly around his neck.
As he pleads for police, the cameraman tells him: ‘You’re going down boy, you’re going down, it’s over. You bitch.’
The suspect replies: ‘I did not mean to.’
The scene is confusing and chaotic, and there initially appears to be no police presence and no paramedics to treat the woman on the ground.
The man filming the video and others seem to be shocked that they are having to keep the suspect prisoner and that police haven’t arrived.
After a few minutes a convoy of police cars rolls in and the suspect is handed over to them.
The Uptown neighborhood, like George Floyd Square, has been turned into a memorial to Smith since he was shot dead on June 3. Roads are closed and anti-police graffiti covers the streets and buildings nearby.
Protesters painted the alleyway where Smith died last week with the writing: ‘Blood on their hands.’
Local residents and business owners say they are concerned that the neighborhood has become lawless.
On Sunday, the Juut Salon Spa, a fixture at the corner of Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street announced it was a closing after 35 years.
Posting on its Facebook page, the salon said: ‘It has become more and more evident that Uptown continues to struggle with store closings, social unrest, crime and street closures.
‘We would be heartbroken if anything were to happen to our team members or clients. With that at the forefront, we made this difficult decision.’