MPs who fatally shot a man in Minneapolis were undercover

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The sheriff’s two deputies, who shot and killed a black man during an attempted arrest by a U.S. Marshals Service task force in Minneapolis, were working undercover at the time, so their names will not be released, state investigators said Wednesday.

Winston Boogie Smith Jr., 32, of St. Paul, was killed last Thursday when authorities tried to arrest him for a gun injury in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. The US Marshals Service said he was wanted because he was allegedly a felon in possession of a firearm and that Smith, who was sitting in a parked vehicle, failed to obey it and “produced a handgun, which resulted in Task Force members Force shot at the subject ”.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said evidence suggests Smith fired his gun – a pistol and spent cartridge were found in the car. The Hennepin County coroner said Smith died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Last week, state investigators said two sheriff’s deputies – one from Hennepin County and one from Ramsey County – were the officers who fired their guns and attacked Smith. Investigators said Wednesday that both authorities said their deputies were working undercover. State law prohibits undercover agents from being revealed.

“I don’t care if it’s covered. If someone is killed, the name of the person who killed them should be published, ”said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We don’t have a secret police here. Our government’s only accountability is transparency. “

Officials from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota Department of Corrections, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the US Marshals Service were also part of the task force during the arrest attempt, the BCA said.

The BCA also said it was not aware of any video of the incident. Investigators said there was no body camera or squad camera footage and they were unaware of the surveillance videos. The Associated Press left messages on the owners of the parking ramp Smith was shot on to see if there was a security video this week and the messages have not been returned.

The lack of body camera footage has raised questions in Minnesota as Smith’s family members and activists continue to demand transparency.

“It doesn’t all fit together,” said Hussein, adding that secrecy and a lack of information undermine public trust. He said fundamental changes are needed at all levels of government.

Local officials say the MPs were assigned body cameras, but were told by the U.S. Marshals Service they couldn’t use them despite an October Justice Department policy change that would have allowed their use. The problem led the Ramsey County Sheriff to withdraw his deputies from the task force until body cameras were authorized.

This week, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco ordered Justice Department law enforcement to wear body cameras when making planned arrests or issuing search warrants. The directive instructs the heads of the Marshals Service, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to develop guidelines for body-worn cameras within 30 days.

The fatal shootout comes as Minneapolis has been nervous since the death of George Floyd a little over a year ago and the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by an officer in nearby Brooklyn Center in April.

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