Undercover deputies who fatally shot a Black man in Minneapolis won't be identified

The names of two sheriff's deputies who shot and killed a Black man during an attempted arrest will not be released because they were working undercover, state investigators said Wednesday, citing Minnesota law.

Officers from six law enforcement agencies, including Hennepin and Ramsey County sheriff’s offices, were part of a U.S. Marshals Service task force that attempted to arrest Winston Smith, 32, a father of three, on a weapons violation June 3. Smith, who was in a parked vehicle on a parking ramp, didn't comply and “produced a handgun resulting in task force members firing upon the subject," according to the U.S. Marshals.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the incident, said a handgun and spent cartridge were found inside the car, which indicates Smith fired his gun. The Hennepin County medical examiner said Smith died of multiple gunshot wounds.

The BCA said it is unaware of any video of the incident. The lack of footage became a flashpoint for activists and Smith's family who demanded transparency and accountability.

Barriers placed by the city of Minneapolis surround memorials as community members gather in George Floyd Square to protest the death of Winston Smith on June 7. Smith was fatally shot by members of a U.S. marshals task force.
Barriers placed by the city of Minneapolis surround memorials as community members gather in George Floyd Square to protest the death of Winston Smith on June 7. Smith was fatally shot by members of a U.S. marshals task force.

'I will protect my brother's name': Family of Minneapolis man killed by deputies demand accountability

Another Black man was fatally shot by deputies: Authorities say there's no bodycam video. Activists call it 'reckless.'

State investigators said the U.S. Marshals Service does not allow the use of body cameras on the task force that attempted to arrest Smith. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office issued a body camera to one of the deputies involved in the shooting but was told it could not be used while the deputy worked on task force operations, according to the department.

The U.S. Marshals Service said the Justice Department permits state, local and tribal task force officers to use body cameras. In October, the Department of Justice approved their use for officers serving on federal task forces.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced Monday that federal agents would be required to wear body cameras when executing search warrants or making preplanned arrests.

The BCA said Wednesday that officers from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota Department of Corrections, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Marshals Service were part of the task force during the arrest attempt. Officials from Ramsey, Hennepin and Anoka County sheriff's offices announced they suspended work by their deputies with the task force because of the body camera issue.

Follow N'dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Undercover deputies who shot Winston Smith Jr. won't be identified

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