Anoka County Sheriff's Office suspends role in federal task force that fatally shot man in Uptown

·2 min read

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office is suspending its partnership with a federal task force whose members fatally shot a man in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood.

The agency had discussed concerns about the North Star Fugitive Task Force's prohibition of deputies to wear and operate body worn cameras while working on the task force before Winston Smith Jr. was fatally shot, Tierney Peters, community relations coordinator, said in an e-mail on Tuesday. The suspension will last until "an agreed upon resolution that allow the use of body worn cameras, as well as follow Minnesota Data Practices laws can be achieved," according to the e-mail.

The prohibition was in conflict with Sheriff's Office body worn camera policy implemented in 2018. The U.S. Marshals Service recently announced it would start allowing deputies wear body worn cameras, but how that data will be collected and managed with Minnesota law is still being worked out, according to Peters.

Smith, 32, of Minneapolis, was killed Thursday afternoon; authorities say he fired a gun from his vehicle as the task force tried to arrest him on a warrant from Ramsey County for being a felon in possession of a gun. A preliminary investigation shows that a Hennepin County sheriff's deputy and a Ramsey County deputy shot Smith while under the direction of the task force.

"Sheriff James Stuart and the rest of the Anoka County Sheriff's Office hope that we will quickly find a resolution with the U.S. marshals so we may continue to pursue public safety initiatives throughout the county, state, and country," according to the e-mail.

The Sheriff's Office has partnered with the U.S. Marshals Service for five years and the federal agency has helped with tracking and arresting fugitives.

The news comes after the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office announced they were pulling the agency from the federal task force.

Alex Chhith • 612-673-4759