Skip to main content

In the days after members of a U.S. Marshals task force fatally shot Winston "Boogie" Smith, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, tasked with the initial investigation, issued a clear statement: "The BCA is not aware of any video of the incident."

That built upon what the agency had said on June 4, not 24 hours after Smith's death while in his car on top of a parking ramp in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood. The task force prohibited the use of body cameras, the BCA noted publicly, and squad camera footage of "the incident" didn't exist.

But a review of the case released Monday indicates that while there may not be footage of the shooting itself, there is indeed law enforcement body camera footage from moments after the shooting, involving the woman in the car with Smith when it happened.

Crow Wing County Attorney Donald Ryan, who determined law enforcement officers' actions that day were "reasonable and justified," included a summary of evidence he weighed when recommending the involved officers not face criminal prosecution. Referencing Norhan Askar, the 27-year-old woman in Smith's car during the entirety of the incident, Ryan wrote:

"N.A. is observed in body cam footage immediately after the incident. In the body cam footage, N.A. is observed explaining that N.A. and Smith were having a lunch date at Stella's. When they were done eating the two proceeded to Smith's vehicle."

Those are the only two references to body camera video in the letters, which were released publicly this week.

But the abruptly announced existence of body cam footage directly connected to Smith's killing was met with surprise, given the language previously used by investigating agencies.

So, what is this body camera footage, who did it come from and when was it taken?

A spokesperson for the BCA told Bring Me The News the body cam video referenced in Ryan's letter is from a Minneapolis Police Department officer who "responded to the scene after the incident."

This officer was not on the scene at the time Smith was shot, but arrived shortly afterward, the spokesperson said.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office reiterated this to Bring Me The News, saying "there were no body worn or squad car cameras of any of the Federal Task Force actions" due to task force policy. (That set off its own debate following the shooing.)

But the attorney's office shed a little more light on when the footage was taken. The MPD officer, whose camera was functioning and on, came to the scene after the shooting and "assisted in helping the female passenger in the car out of the car and to the hospital to receive outpatient care," the attorney's office said.

When asked why the BCA did not previously acknowledge the existence of this body camera footage, the spokesperson replied:

"As previously stated, there is no video of the incident. The referenced body camera footage was from an MPD officer who responded to the scene after the incident. Evidence gathered during an investigation, including videos, is not public under Minnesota law while the investigation is active and ongoing. All public data from the case file will be released once the review process is complete."

What isn't clear is precisely when the MPD officer in question arrived on scene after the shooting.

According to Ryan's letter, after deputies shot Smith with Askar still in the vehicle, the task force members were ordered to fall back. A task force member then used the butt of a rifle to break the rear window. "At the same time," Askar exited the vehicle via the front passenger side door. She was "detained and escorted to a squad vehicle," the letter reads.

It is this MPD officer's interactions that are captured in body camera video, with the Hennepin County Attorney's Office stating Tuesday: "That is the only body worn camera footage of this incident."

Bring Me The News has reached out to Askar's attorneys for additional comment. Askar, in a statement released nearly a month after the shooting, said she never saw Smith with a gun while in the vehicle

While the BCA notes that videos are not public under Minnesota law "while the investigation is active and ongoing," there have been several examples of recent police shootings where investigative footage has been released swiftly.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Last August, Minneapolis Police Department released footage of a man fatally shooting himself on Nicollet Mall within hours of it happening in an attempt to prevent the spread of misinformation that he had been killed by police.

When asked if the body camera footage mentioned in Ryan's report could be released, the Minneapolis Police Department and Hennepin County Attorney's Officer referred Bring Me The News to the BCA.

A BCA spokesperson said Monday's decision by the Crow Wing County attorney means the agency will go over, and then close, the case file. 

"Once the BCA has finished review of the file for any not public data, all public data will be released," the spokesperson said. They could not provide a timeline for when that might happen, but said the agency will release the "full investigative file as soon as it’s available."

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 5.46.37 PM

Video shows officers ended pursuit before fatal crash in Anoka

The crash occurred when the driver fled police during an attempted traffic stop in Coon Rapids.

Eli Hart

6-year-old Eli Hart identified as boy found dead in car trunk

The kindergartner's father was trying to get full custody of his son.


Boy found dead in trunk of car in Mound was kindergartner

"It is horrifying and difficult to process a tragedy of this magnitude, especially in our close-knit community," the superintendent wrote.

Minneapolis police

Man found yelling for help after being shot in Minneapolis

The shooting occurred on the 800 block of Elwood Avenue North at around 9:15 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 9.56.21 AM

Minneapolis North principal says she was fired, district says otherwise

“MPS requires schools to follow protocols in times like that and I did not,” Friestleben said.

Kris Richard Severin

Inmate who escaped Minnesota prison is captured

The inmate escaped Wednesday morning.

Brave New Comedy Workshop in downtown Minneapolis.

Brave New Workshop cancels shows due to COVID-19 cases

The shows were scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre.

Austin Retterath

Body of missing U of M student found in Mississippi River

Austin Retterath was last seen alive in the morning hours of May 8.

"Love" mural seen in St. Paul.

Summer mural events to bring together community, shine light on MN artists

The 2022 Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival will take place this weekend in St. Paul's Creative Enterprise Zone, with ensuing events happening this summer.


Gallery: Remodeled lakeside home in Prior Lake on market for $2.8M

It offers privacy at the end of a dead-end road fronting onto Lower Prior Lake.

golden valley police department

Carjacking outside ice arena in Golden Valley under investigation

Golden Valley PD confirmed it received a report of a carjacking Monday evening.


Screen Shot 2021-06-04 at 6.30.24 AM

County attorney: Winston Smith killing justified, no charges for deputies

The prosecutor who reviewed the case recommended against any criminal charges for officers involved.

Flickr - Winston Smith memorial uptown June 4 - Chad Davis

Court documents reveal more details from Winston Smith death scene

An investigator says he found cartridge casings, bullet fragments and a pistol.

Winston Smith scene

US Attorney's Office responds to BCA claim about task force body cams

The BCA said task force officers involved in the shooting death of Winston Smith in Minneapolis were not allowed to wear body cameras.

Winston Smith scene

BCA: Undercover agents fatally shot Winston Smith; no video found

Anyone who may have video of the shooting is urged to contact the BCA.

image_from_ios 2

BCA: 2 deputies shot at Winston Smith, no bodycam footage available

Investigators revealed preliminary details about Thursday's shooting in Uptown.

Screen Shot 2021-06-04 at 6.30.24 AM

BCA releases investigative file in Winston Smith's shooting death

The file contains 1,000 pages of documents, hundreds of photos and dozens of audio files.

Stallings surveillance footage - screengrab - crop

New video, body cam footage shows police beating prone Jaleel Stallings

Stallings' attorney, Eric Rice, made the video public Monday.

Screen Shot 2021-06-04 at 6.30.24 AM

Woman in car with Winston Smith says he raised his cellphone, not a gun

Investigators claim Smith showed a weapon before sheriff's deputies fatally shot him.