A woman is dead and three others injured after a car was driven into a crowd of anti-police brutality protesters in Minneapolis on Sunday night, Minneapolis police confirmed on Twitter.
The driver was arrested and is in police custody after being treated at an area hospital, according to police. The police have not confirmed a motive for the attack.
Around 11.39pm on Sunday, the car rammed into a crowd of demonstrators who had gathered in uptown Minneapolis to protest against the police shooting death of Winston Boogie Smith Jr, a 32-year-old Black man and father of three who was killed by US marshals on 3 June.
Following the crash, several people intervened, pulling the suspect from the car and restraining him until police arrested him. Police noted that based on a preliminary investigation, alcohol or drug use by the driver may have contributed to the incident.
“I’ve never seen anything that horrendous,” said Zachery James, 28, who was at the scene, to the New York Times.
The death of Smith has prompted protests and vigils across Minneapolis, with many calling for more transparency in the investigation. Following the shooting, some buildings were vandalized and businesses robbed, said police.
The police shooting of Smith happened just a year after the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis. Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old unarmed Black man, was also killed by police in a Minneapolis suburb, prompting nationwide protests.
Smith had been killed by members of the US marshals fugitive taskforce during an attempted arrest for a felony firearms violation, according to a statement released by the Minnesota department of public safety bureau of criminal apprehension. Officers say that Smith did not comply with commands and displayed a handgun, prompting fire.
Evidence at the scene, including a handgun and cartridges recovered from inside the vehicle, show that Smith discharged his weapon, said officers.
Smith was pronounced dead at the scene and a woman who was in the vehicle during the incident was treated at a nearby hospital for injuries caused by broken glass from the shooting.
But Smith’s family have disputed police’s version of events, describing Smith as a man trying to “turn over a new leaf” who was often harassed by police. The woman who was present also said she never saw Smith with a gun or a gun in the car.
There is no body-camera footage available of the shooting, according to police.