Woman hurt when Winston Smith was killed sues authorities

Jul 23, 2021, 3:40 PM | Updated: 6:44 pm

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A woman who was with a St. Paul man when he was shot and killed in Minneapolis by members of a federal task force is suing local authorities and has signaled her intent to sue the U.S. Marshals Service, saying she was emotionally traumatized and her civil rights were violated, her lawyers said Friday.

Norhan Askar was on a date with Winston Boogie Smith Jr. and was sitting in an SUV in a Minneapolis parking ramp on June 3 when Smith, who was Black, was fatally shot as authorities tried to arrest him on a weapons violation.

Authorities said Smith showed a handgun and that evidence shows he fired it. Askar’s attorneys have said she never saw a gun on Smith or in his vehicle and that he was shot after he held up a cellphone to begin recording.

Askar is seeking $15 million from the Marshals Service, according to a letter dated Wednesday in which her attorneys notified the agency that they would file a federal civil rights and torts claim in six months if the issue isn’t resolved. Such notice is required under the Federal Tort Claims Act before a lawsuit can proceed.

Christopher Nguyen, one of Askar’s attorneys, said the $15 million is a starting figure. He said there are no settlement negotiations at this time.

The Marshals Service didn’t immediately reply to a message seeking comment.

Askar’s attorneys are also pursuing a personal injury claim in state court against Hennepin and Ramsey counties, and against the Hennepin and Ramsey county sheriff’s offices. According to that claim, which Nguyen said was served on the parties but not filed in court, the task force members denied Askar’s civil rights, were negligent, committed assault and inflicted emotional distress.

Among other things, Askar claims her civil rights were denied when the task force officers prevented her from leaving by using a vehicle to ram into the back of Smith’s SUV, smashing it into a barrier and leaving her trapped. She said authorities did not identify themselves as law enforcement as they surrounded the SUV, pointed guns at her, shouted commands and ultimately fired their weapons.

She also claims the officers demonstrated a conscious disregard and deliberate indifference to the risk that Askar would be killed or seriously harmed. Askar was hurt by shattered glass and is seeking damages for her physical and emotional injuries.

A spokeswoman for Hennepin County said she wasn’t aware of the lawsuit and that it would be inappropriate to comment if litigation was pending. Ramsey County didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

According to court records, Smith was wanted for allegedly being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Authorities were trying to arrest him when a Ramsey County sheriff’s deputy and a Hennepin County sheriff’s deputy who were members of the task force fired their weapons. Both deputies were working undercover so their names are barred from release under state law, authorities have said.

State investigators have also said they were unaware of any video of the incident. Investigators said there is no body camera or squad camera footage, and they are unaware of surveillance video.

Local officials have said the deputies were assigned body cameras but were told by the Marshals Service that they couldn’t use them, despite an October change in Justice Department policy that would have allowed them to be used. The lack of body camera footage has raised questions, as Smith’s family members and activists have demanded transparency.

When Smith was shot, Minneapolis was already on edge following the death of George Floyd over a year earlier, and the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by an officer in nearby Brooklyn Center in April.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Anti-Japan protesters on disputed islands march near the Japanese Consulate General in Shang...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: What’s behind strained China-Japan relations

TOKYO (AP) — Japan and China on Thursday mark the 50th anniversary of the 1972 normalization of their ties, but there isn’t much of a celebratory mood. Improved ties between Asia’s two biggest economies are considered vital to the region’s stability and prosperity, but they remain at odds over disputed East China Sea islands and […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Pollution from Florida mining a concern with Hurricane Ian

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The polluted leftovers of Florida’s phosphate fertilizer mining industry, more than 1 billion tons in “stacks” that resemble enormous ponds, are at risk for leaks or other contamination when Hurricane Ian comes ashore in the state, environmental groups say. Florida has 24 such phosphogypsum stacks, most of them concentrated in […]
24 hours ago
This GOES-East GeoCcolor satellite image taken at 10:10 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, and pr...
Associated Press

Hurricane Ian nears Florida coast, threatening floods, winds

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida residents rushed to board up their homes, stash precious belongings on upper floors and flee from oncoming Hurricane Ian, fearing the monstrous storm that knocked out power to all of Cuba and left 11 million people without power would slam into their state’s west coast with catastrophic winds and […]
24 hours ago
FILE - The angel Moroni statue atop the Salt Lake Temple is silhouetted against a cloud-covered sky...
Associated Press

Churches defend clergy loophole in child sex abuse reporting

It was a frigid Sunday evening at the Catholic Newman Center in Salt Lake City when the priest warned parishioners who had gathered after Mass that their right to private confessions was in jeopardy. A new law would break that sacred bond, the priest said, and directed the parishioners to sign a one-page form letter […]
24 hours ago
This photo released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Sirhan Sir...
Associated Press

RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan challenges his parole denial

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, is asking a judge on Wednesday to free him from prison by reversing California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s denial of his parole earlier this year. Sirhan shot Kennedy moments after the U.S. senator from New York claimed victory in California’s pivotal […]
24 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Woman hurt when Winston Smith was killed sues authorities