Minneapolis saw an outbreak of unrest on Friday night, after a vigil and protests over the shooting death of a man by members of a U.S. Marshals task force devolved into chaotic scenes of looting, arson, and vandalism.
The second night of protests followed Thursday’s fatal shooting of 32-year-old Winston Boogie Smith Jr., who was wanted on a weapons violation and fired a gun before two deputies shot him.
Members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force were trying to arrest Smith on a warrant for allegedly being a felon in possession of a gun, according to authorities. The Marshals Service said in a statement Thursday that Smith, who was in a parked vehicle, didn’t comply with law enforcement and “produced a handgun resulting in task force members firing upon the subject.”
Family and friends of Smith Jr. spoke at a vigil on Friday at the location of the fatal shooting, with video from the scene showing an unidentified man calling for “justice” and for the crowd to “say his name.”
Later, protesters blocked parts of Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street in Uptown Minneapolis, police announced in a tweet, urging people to avoid the area.
Police in riot gear faced off with some protesters, asking them to clear the area. At around 2 a.m., there was still a large police presence in the area, with footage showing a vehicle surrounded by law enforcement and additional arrests being made.
Video shared on social media showed a crowd of mostly masked individuals breaking into a T-Mobile outlet, with two men hoisting a third as a battering ram to shatter the window.
Moments later, people were seen rushing into the store through the broken window before exiting sometime later, with an alarm sounding in the background.
Police said at least nine people were arrested on possible charges including suspicion of riot, assault, arson, and damage to property.
The unrest came as Minneapolis 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.
BY TOM OZIMEK