MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The family of a Black man a federal task force shot to death this summer wants a new, independent investigation into the shooting after prosecutors decided not to file any charges.
Winston Smith Jr.’s family said at a news conference Friday that officers at the scene were never interviewed and submitted only written statements to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which investigated the incident, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
The statements formed the basis for Crow Wing County Attorney Donald Ryan’s decision Monday not to file charges.
“The investigation in this case was severely flawed from the very beginning,” the family’s attorney, Eric Newmark, said at the news conference. “They all provided written statements with time to consult with their attorneys, with time to consult with their colleagues. Is that transparency?”
The BCA is a subdivision of the state Department of Public Safety. Department spokesman Bruce Gordon said the agency can’t compel anyone to submit to an interview as part of a criminal investigation.
Members of a U.S. Marshals Service task force shot Smith, 32, of St. Paul, on June 3 as he sat in an SUV in a Minneapolis parking ramp. Members were trying to detain him for allegedly being a felon in possession of a firearm when Smith drew his handgun and fired, according to Ryan. Task force members fired back, hitting Smith multiple times. Ryan said the task force members were reasonable and justified.
Newmark said that investigators still haven’t released the names of the officers who fired, calling it “astonishing” and “disgraceful.” Gordon said the BCA can’t release names of officers working undercover.
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