The brother of a man who was shot by law enforcement last week in Minneapolis was heckled by protesters Sunday night after expressing sympathy for police officers.
“Everyone, this is Winston’s brother speaking,” a woman told a crowd of protesters who were gathered near the Uptown parking ramp where 32-year-old Winston Smith was shot by a U.S. Marshals task force last week after he drew a gun.
Riots broke out Thursday night following Smith’s death and the demonstrations in his name continued throughout the weekend and into Sunday night, when his brother attempted to address the crowd of activists.
“This, right here, I don’t think is working. We gotta find another way. So, listen, this is my brother’s death right here and I want to ask that y’all please work with me,” said Smith’s brother, Kidale Smith.
“The police officers, they’re in this too. They’re victims as well,” he continued, prompting shouts of “fuck 12” and “all cops are bastards.”
Kidale called his brother’s death a “tragedy” but said he “wouldn’t want this right here.”
“I know that because I don’t want this right here,” he said as the crowd challenged him to present a solution.
“The solution is this Saturday we’re having a march and every officer here, they’re coming with us,” Smith replied, eliciting more jeers from the crowd.
He then appeared to suggest that not all cops are bad, but some of his remarks were drowned out by wind and the shouts of protesters.
“No good cops in a racist system,” one demonstrator shot back.
Smith then expressed disagreement with the tactics used by Black Lives Matter activists but was again heckled by the crowd and eventually walked away while shaking his head.
A video of the encounter shows Smith shaking the hands of Minneapolis officers on the scene and giving one of them a hug.
He elaborated on his views in an interview with Fox 9.
“As long as we’re separated, as long as the police feels like it’s us versus them and the community feels like it’s us versus you, we will never be able to come to an understanding of it’s not either of us,” he said.
“There are police officers that want to see this stop,” Smith continued. “They don’t want to be a part of this, they really want to protect us. There are good cops in your communities and we all know this.”