Here’s what we know:
A Driver Smashed Into A Protest Of A Police Killing
Demonstrators had gathered in Minneapolis’ Uptown area to protest the shooting death of Winston Smith by undercover sheriff’s deputies earlier this month.
The deputies killed Smith, a Black man and a father, during an arrest attempt by a U.S. Marshals Service task force on June 3. The Marshals say Smith “failed to comply with officers’ commands” and “produced a handgun resulting in task force members firing upon the subject.” A woman who was with Smith at the time of the shooting contradicted that, saying through an attorney that she never saw a gun on Smith nor in his vehicle.
Sunday’s protest was the latest in several days of demonstrations over the killing in Minneapolis.
Witness Says Driver Sped Up Toward Protest
One witness told Minneapolis Public Radio that the driver sped toward protesters.
“A car came at us going like 70 or 80 miles an hour,” said D.J. Hooker, an organizer with with Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar. “There was one line of barriers and then a second barrier, and he sped up. He sped up. He went even faster as he approached us. You could hear it … start going even faster as he got close to us.”
MPR reported that witnesses saw the car hit a stationary vehicle that had been positioned in the street, apparently in order to protect the crowd. That stationary vehicle in turn hit protesters after being struck, according to the report.
Photos of the scene from photojournalist Chad Davis show multiple damaged vehicles
One has been pronounced dead after a vehicle drove through protesters and their barricades sending 3 to the hospital. The protesters, who've been gathering in Uptown Minneapolis since the Winston Smith killing, apprehended the driver who was then arrested by police. pic.twitter.com/3bHDnKquGh
— daviss (@daviss) June 14, 2021
Victim Identified By Brother, Police Mum On Motives
Garrett Knajdek told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that his sister Deona M. Knajdek was the protester killed. She would have turned 32 on Wednesday, he said.
Knajdek, citing information from his mother and police, confirmed to the paper that his sister “was using her car as a street blockade, and another vehicle struck her vehicle and her vehicle struck her.”
Minneapolis police spokespeople didn’t immediately respond to TPM’s questions Monday morning, but John Elder, the department’s director of public information, told news outlets that “the use of drugs or alcohol … may be a contributing factor in this crash.”
The crash occurred a few minutes before midnight, and Minneapolis Police subsequently reported that a woman had died “as a result of the crash.” Videos from the ground showed a man, presumably the driver, being held in a headlock and then being handed over to law enforcement.