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Suspect accused of killing protester with car in Minnesota has past DWI convictions

Minneapolis protest crash
Posted at 7:58 AM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 08:07:40-04

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis police say a 35-year-old St. Paul man with multiple convictions for driving while impaired is the driver suspected of plowing into a crowd of demonstrators, killing one and injuring three others.

Police say Nicholas Kraus was booked into the Hennepin County jail on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide in the crash Sunday.

Online jail records show he was arrested early Monday and is being held without bail Tuesday in the Hennepin County jail.

Kraus has not been formally charged.

Police say he drove into a crowd crowd of people protesting the fatal police shooting of Winston Boogie Smith Jr. on Sunday night. Thirty-one-year-old Deona Knajdek was killed.

There have been ongoing protests in Uptown since federal law enforcement officials fatally shot Smith, a 32-year-old Black man and father of three, on June 3

Authorities have that Smith was wanted on a weapons violation and fired a gun before two deputies shot him while he was inside a parked vehicle. Because the shooting occurred in connection with the U.S. Marshal's North Star Fugitive Task Force, deputies were not wearing body cameras when Smith was killed. The incident was also not recorded on squad car dash cameras.

Family and friends of Smith are demanding transparency in the investigation.

Smith's shooting was just the latest in a string of high-profile fatalities involving police officers in the Twin Cities area.

In April, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Department officials said the now-former officer who fired the fatal shot, Kim Potter, meant to fire a stun gun as Wright attempted to flee, but instead grabbed her firearm. Potter faces a manslaughter charge.

Wright's death came as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was standing trial for murder in connection with George Floyd's death in police custody in May 2020. Chauvin, who was recorded kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes, was later convicted of murder and manslaughter. He'll be sentenced later this year.