Winston Boogie Smith was laid to rest on a hot Saturday in North Minneapolis after a moving, two-hour funeral service. Shiloh Temple International Ministries, which experienced a shooting death after a funeral on Friday, hosted the service. Relatives and friends told stories and anecdotes that painted a picture of Winston Smith that contradicts earlier mainstream media reports about him.
Smith was killed on June 3 atop a parking ramp in the Uptown area of South Minneapolis after he and a date had lunch at Stella’s Fish Café. The date has since come forward through her attorney to dispute U.S. Marshals’ claims that Smith shot at them and they, as a result, returned fire killing the 32-year-old father of three.
The witness said she never saw a gun in the car or Smith with a gun. The U.S. Marshals Service, however, has stuck to its story.
Smith’s mother, Elissa Wilson, thanked those in attendance for supporting her family and coming to her son’s homegoing. “The media has slandered him, but that’s not who he was,” said Smith’s comedic partner Steffon “Steff Weezy.” He gave Smith credit for changing his life. He told a story about Smith performing really bad comedy during a sketch. It was so bad that his friends were cracking up laughing. He said Smith later told them, “I told you I would make you laugh,” which to Steff demonstrated his comedic genius.
“Winston, we want you to know we’re going to clear your name to the fullest extent, and we’re going to get justice for you, one way or another,” said longtime friend and roommate Waylon Hughes. He said on the day Smith was killed, he woke up singing James Brown’s “I Feel Good.”
Smith’s brother Jesse Floyd acknowledged that Smith had made some mistakes. “He wasn’t perfect,” he said of his brother. He also lightened the mood recalling a conversation with his late brother yesterday in which he said his brother told him to tell stories about him, which he did. “I talked to him yesterday and he asked me, ‘Why did you let mom put me in this suit?'” laughed Floyd.
Older sister Tieshia Floyd had the audience in stitches telling of her brother’s exploits. He was a prankster she said and told of her brother putting egg yolk in her shoes. “He was truly a ray of sunshine. The kindest, sweetest, most joyful person, that’s what I want you all to leave with, and remember him,” she said.
Brother Kidale Smith told the audience of the close bond he shared with Winston. “I would come up with ideas and he would always say “Okay, let’s do it,” said Kidale Smith. He told of how he and his brother would prank their mother and siblings as youngsters. He also said his brother had his back and that “he took blows for me. All he wanted was love and respect. And to have such a disrespectful, gruesome way to go out, man, I’m not going to let that slide.”
Pastor Camen Means delivered the eulogy, encouraging the mourners to not give up on the idea that justice can be obtained in this case and others. “This can’t be the end of the story,” she said.
Tears flowed freely and some could be heard crying as Winston Smith’s casket was rolled out of the church and into the hearse to take him to his final resting place.