On June 3rd, 2021, Winston Boogie Smith, a 32-year-old Black man, was assassinated by two law enforcement officers in undercover/unmarked police cars operating on a U.S. Marshall task force in a parking ramp in Minneapolis, Minnesota after being a falsely alleged murder suspect. Minneapolis community activists say “assassinated” and not only murdered because Winston Smith was a revolutionary and was known for his opposition to the police. Winston Smith was also a musician, a comedian, and a father, who was slandered by the media after his killing.

The slanderous media includes the local newspaper The Star-Tribune after it reputed false claims from the law enforcement that Winston Smith was a murder suspect, and that he possessed a handgun and casings of dispensed ammunition at the time of death. Such claims from law enforcement were proven wrong when a passenger with Winston Smith came forward through attorneys and announced that she did not see Winston with a gun. The BCA and U.S. Marshal Services have withheld any footage of the killing. There are claims that local law enforcement in the task force were not permitted by the U.S. Marshal Service to use body cameras. These suspicious details and Smith’s known political activity signal at premeditation and motives for seeking him out on false grounds and assassinating him, less than two months after protesters ensured the conviction of killer cop Derek Chauvin who killed George Floyd. We demand the release of the names of the cops who killed Smith which to this day are still being withheld.

In response to Winston Smith's killing, people in the Twin Cities mobilized in protests to demand Justice for Winston Smith and have held multiple vigils and marches in the Uptown area where Winston Smith was assassinated. These protests have been met with violence and opposition, not only by the Minneapolis Police Department, but also a white supremacist who killed the 31-year-old protester, Deona Marie Erickson.

Deona Marie was a community member and protester who was struck by a car that sped at protesters in a targeted attack during a community protest and occupation of a street. She had parked her car next to the protesters specifically to protect them from being hurt by white supremacists who have been hitting protesters since before last year. After she left her car to stand next to it, a white supremacist hit her car, slammed it into her, and murdered her and injured three other people. We call for justice for Deona Marie Erickson, for her racist killer to be not only arrested but also convicted for murder.

SDS has joined with and absolutely stands with the people of Minneapolis in their brave demonstrations for justice for Winston Smith and all other victims, particularly Black folks, of police crimes. Hardly a year ago, this very same city was the scene of the police murder of George Floyd, and, in 2015, of the 24-year-old Black man, Jamar Clarke.

The memories, grief, and righteous anger over these deaths stay fresh in people’s minds. We will continue to pour into the streets to demand justice for Winston Smith and the arrest and conviction of his killer cops, and for justice for Deona Erickson who died doing the right thing. The people won’t be stopped, not for police assassinations and not for white supremacist violence, and neither will we.