MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The woman who was in a vehicle when members of a federal U.S. Marshals Service task force fatally shot the driver last week said she never saw a gun on the man or in the vehicle, her attorneys said Thursday.
The statement from the woman's attorneys disputes investigators' claims that Winston Boogie Smith Jr., who was Black, displayed a handgun before officers on the task force opened fire June 3 in a parking ramp in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood. Authorities have also said evidence indicated Smith fired his gun, saying a handgun and spent cartridge cases were found inside the vehicle.
The woman's attorneys, Christopher Nguyen and Racey Rodne, said their client "never saw a gun on Winston Smith leading up to the shooting and she never saw a gun inside the vehicle — at any time."
The attorneys did not release the name of the woman, asking the public to respect her privacy and her "desire to heal as she is recovering from this profound trauma." They did not elaborate on the nature of any physical injuries she received; authorities said the woman had suffered injuries from broken glass as a result of the shooting.
Smith, 32, of St. Paul, was killed as authorities were trying to arrest him on a weapons violation. The U.S. Marshals Service said he was wanted for allegedly being a felon in possession of a firearm and Smith, who was in a parked vehicle, didn't comply and "produced a handgun resulting in task force members firing upon the subject."
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has said evidence indicates Smith fired his gun — a handgun and spent cartridge cases were found inside the car. The Hennepin County medical examiner said Smith died of multiple gunshot wounds.
The shooting of Smith happened in a city that 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.