The names of the two sheriff’s deputies who shot a black man in an attempted arrest will not be disclosed because they were working undercover, state investigators said Wednesday citing Minnesota law.
Officers from six law enforcement agencies, including the Hennepin and Ramsey County Sheriff’s Offices, were part of a US Marshal Service task force that attempted to arrest Winston Smith Jr., a father of three 32-year-old children for an arms violation on June 3. who was in a vehicle parked on a parking ramp, did not comply and “produced a handgun, which prompted task force members to shoot the matter,” according to the US Marshals.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the incident, said a handgun and a used cartridge were found inside the car, indicating that Smith fired his gun. The Hennepin County medical examiner said Smith died of multiple gunshot wounds.
The BCA also said it was not aware of any video of the incident. The lack of video footage has become a flashpoint for activists and Smith’s family who have demanded transparency and accountability.
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State investigators said the US Marshal Services did not allow the use of body cameras on the task force that attempted to arrest Smith. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office handed over a body camera to one of the deputies involved in the shooting, but was told it could not be used while the deputy was working on task force operations, depending on the department.
The US Marshals Service, however, said the Justice Department allows agents of state, local and tribal task forces to do so. In October, the Justice Department approved the use of body cameras for officers on federal task forces.
Meanwhile, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced Monday that federal agents would be required to wear body cameras when executing search warrants or planned arrests.
The BCA said on Wednesday that officers from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota Department of Corrections, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the US Marshals Service were also on the task force during the meeting. of the attempted arrest. Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office officials Hennepin and Anoka have announced that they are suspending their deputies’ work with the task force due to the body camera issue.
Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg