Minneapolis activists hope Friday’s protests will erupt after a U.S. Marshals Service task force fatally shot a man trying to arrest city officials the same day tried to delete the area where George Floyd died.
He murdered man Twitter users and Shelly Hopkins, his partner in a long-term relationship, identified Winston Boogie Smith Jr., a father of three as a 32-year-old. Smith was wanted for possession of a weapon illegally, according to authorities.
Smith allegedly produced a weapon before officers shot him in the Upton neighborhood of Minneapolis, according to a statement released Thursday by U.S. marshals.
Crowds gathered in the area Thursday night, shouting in front of police and setting fire to a container. Police said the windows of some businesses were smashed.
– 🖤✨Hummingbird✨🖤 ❄️ (@riotousmuse) June 4, 2021
Nine people were arrested on possible charges, including suspected riots, assaults, arson and property damage, according to police.
On Friday, graffiti saying “Mpls still hate cops” and “No trial for them” marked the building next to the parking ramp where Smith was shot. A T-Mobile store and a pharmacy a few blocks away were shipped and closed indefinitely after shattering the windows.
Minneapolis activists told Al Jazeera there were plans to return to Uptown Friday night.
There are no body cameras
Hopkins, Smith’s partner, told The Associated Press that Smith had been harassed by police since he was in high school. He feared he had been killed when he learned of the shooting, and then saw his vehicle in the news.
While at the scene, he received a call from the forensic doctor’s office to confirm his death.
“We have a very big spiritual connection and my intuition started and I had a feeling,” Hopkins said. “I knew something was wrong … I didn’t want to believe it.”
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is leading the investigation, said Friday that two sheriff’s deputies – one from Hennepin County and one from Ramsey County – were officers who fired their weapons, beating Smith.
State investigators also said evidence indicates Smith fired his gun, saying a gun and a worn-out cartridge were found inside the car.
State investigators said a 27-year-old woman passing by in the vehicle was taken to a hospital and treated for injuries from glass debris.
The U.S. Marshals Service does not allow the use of body cameras for officers from its North Star Fugitive Workforce, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said, and there is no camera footage of the shooting.
Body camera images it has increasingly become a means of exposing police abuses during sometimes deadly encounters.
George Floyd Square
The city has been on the edge since Floyd’s deaths, a black man who died last year after being caught on the ground by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, and Daunte Wright, a black motorcyclist who was shot dead in the April by an officer in the nearby suburb of Brooklyn Center.
Tensions in Minneapolis had already risen Thursday after teams removed concrete barriers blocking traffic at a Minneapolis intersection where a memorial to Floyd was gathered after his death.
Teams also cleaned artwork, flowers and other items from 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, where Floyd, informally known as George Floyd Square, died, but community activists quickly put up makeshift barriers.
Chauvin was convicted of murder and murdered due to Floyd’s death, and three more agents await trial to help and incite charges.
Chauvin’s conviction was seen as a step toward police reform in the U.S., and Floyd’s family has pressured politicians to pass George Floyd Law, which would eliminate the use of suffocation and legal immunity for police in civil lawsuits, among other measures.
Former Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter is charged with murder on Wright’s death.