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Another Night Of Unrest In Uptown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Tensions are continuing to plague Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood as overnight roads were blocked and small fires were set in the street.

The nightly back-and-forth between demonstrators and police has been going on for weeks, since a U.S. Marshals Service task force fatally shot Winston Smith atop a parking ramp. The tensions have pushed area businesses into a corner and forced events to cancel.

The latest event to be canceled was the Uptown Art Fair, which generally brings about a quarter of a million people to Uptown to enjoy art, shopping and dining. Organizers say they agonized over the decision but felt that they had to make the call due to an uptick in crime, shortage of police officers and lack of planning time.

For the 300+ artists employed by the fair, the cancellation has an economic impact. For some of them, the Uptown Art Fair makes up about a quarter of their annual income. The fair was also canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's such a fun event to connect with people," said artist Brian Geihl, of Dogfish Media, "and I'm sad that it's not happening this year."

Organizers say the Uptown Art Fair will have an online gallery and a smaller scale event in the fall. The Loring Art Fair is still slated to run later this month.

Smith, a Black man, was killed on June 3 during an attempted arrest in Uptown. Investigators say that evidence shows Smith fired a gun inside his car before uncover deputies in the task force shot him.  Smith was wanted on a warrant for being a felon in possession of a gun.

However, the lawyer for the woman who was with Smith during the encounter said she didn't see a gun on Smith or in his car. She is planning to file a civil lawsuit against the agencies involved.

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