Winston Smith, the man killed by U.S. Marshals in Minneapolis after he reportedly fired a weapon at them when they attempted to take him into custody over an outstanding state warrant, posed for a photo with high-profile civil rights attorney Ben Crump, apparently while he was a fugitive from justice.
The photo was posted to Smith’s Instagram with the caption “#Greatness” on May 24.
That was the day before the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, and shortly after the conviction of ex-Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin. Crump, who represented the Floyd family in a civil lawsuit against Minneapolis, which the city settled for a record $27 million.
On May 24, the same day the photo was posted to Instagram, Crump appeared on MSNBC with Al Sharpton in a live segment filmed in Minneapolis. He later posted the segment to his Twitter account:
We must seize THIS moment to pass meaningful federal police reform legislation. Black people should NOT have to die for these reforms! I urge Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act so we can finally have this necessary change in America. pic.twitter.com/lRIkWNtNfe
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) May 24, 2021
Just five days earlier, on May 19, Smith failed to appear for a sentencing hearing after he pleaded guilty to felony firearm possession. U.S. Marshals were attempting to execute a warrant to bring him to justice when he was killed Wednesday, sparking riots in Minneapolis.
“Evidence at the scene indicates that [Smith] fired his weapon from inside the vehicle. BCA crime scene personnel recovered a handgun as well as spent cartridge cases from inside the driver’s compartment,” the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a release.
In 2017, Smith was convicted of felony aggravated robbery, which precluded him from owning a firearm. Had he been caught with a firearm during the attempted arrest earlier this week, another felony charge could have been brought against him.
Crump did not immediately respond to a comment request.
Smith’s open hatred for law enforcement was well-documented. He made several threatening posts on his Facebook page, especially after Floyd’s death.
“We got guns and bullet proof vest too or should be able to get em… why not just rush these f***s and start this war they keep asking for!” he said in one post.
“F**k justice anyway b***h justice is an eye for eye u kill one of mine we need one of yours that’s justice! Right or wrong f**k being right cuz they keep doing us wrong,” he said in another.
“I’m down with the burn everything government not touch sh*t else I don’t even need to loot I’ll buy my sh*t just kill them dirty ass cops off we tired of being scared at the red light!” he said in a third.
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