Minneapolis (WCCO) – Sheriffs of Minnesota’s two largest counties say they are pulling their duties from the US Marshals Service’s fugitive task force until body cameras are allowed.
On Monday, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office sent a release announcing that the US Marshals Service has agreed to allow local law enforcement to wear body cameras during task force. The 2014 agreement now requires any Ramsey County deputy who is on the task force to wear and use a body camera.
Later that day, however, Sheriff Bob Fletcher sent a statement that the US Marshals Service had been “misleading” in its comments to the media concerning body cameras.
“In Minnesota, the Marshall Office has refused to allow us to wear body cameras since the advent of technology and no new policies have been implemented,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher says he signed the addendum to allow the use of body cameras on the task force by Ramsey County representatives, but the US Marshals Service did not change the policy.
“To my surprise, I received a voicemail today from US Marshal Mona Dohman, in which she explains, ‘This may take some time to be approved… so, your deputy is still required to use your body cameras. will not be allowed … until the onboarding process goes ahead,'” Fletcher said.
As a result, Fletcher says he decided that Ramsey County Sheriff’s representatives would not participate in the task force unless body cameras were “actually” authorized.
Late Tuesday, a spokesman for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office issued this statement: “HCSO will no longer participate in the North Star Fugitive Task Force unless local law enforcement officers and officers are permitted to wear body-worn cameras. is not.”
The push for task force members to use body cameras comes after a federal investigation in Minneapolis resulted in a shooting without body camera footage. On June 3, members of the task force, in several vehicles, encountered Winston Smith on a parking ramp in Uptown. Officers stated that Smith would not surrender and took out a gun, resulting in Smith was shot dead by several task force members..
State investigators say evidence suggests Smith fired his gun from inside his car, and that the task force had a warrant for his arrest.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Appeals, which is leading the investigation, says Smith was shot by a Hennepin County sheriff’s deputy and a Ramsey County sheriff’s deputy serving on the task force.
In its news release regarding the shooting, the BCA stated that there is no video from body cameras or squad car video because the US Marshals Service “does not currently permit” the use of body cameras for officers serving in the task force. Also known as the North Star Fugitive Task Force.
But the U.S. Department of Justice changed that policy last and allowed local law enforcement on federal task forces to “wear body-worn cameras while serving an arrest warrant, or during other planned arrest operations, and during the execution of a search warrant.” allows it to activate.
The US Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota confirmed that as of February this year, a phased implementation, including in Minnesota, had begun.
In response to that statement, Bruce Gordon, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety that oversees the BCA, said: “Why or why the USMS hasn’t ‘phased out’ into the new policy for this task force, you can ask them and the US Will have to ask the attorney. It’s their decision.”
He stood by the BCA’s initial news release about the incident, saying the information came from the US Marshals Service.
The unrest lasted several nights after Smith’s shooting, with his family demanding transparency and the release of any footage. His friends and family say the warrant for his arrest should not have been the end of his life.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of knews.uk and knews.uk does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.