MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The U.S. Attorney’s Office says it will likely take months for federal agents in Minnesota to start wearing body cameras. The nationwide move came after members of the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force shot and killed Winston Smith in Uptown while trying to arrest him.
The Department of Justice policy on body worn cameras for federal agents changed after the Smith killing in early June. Body cams were prohibited at the time, and the investigating agency said no cameras caught what unfolded on the top of the parking garage in Uptown.READ MORE: Group Files Lawsuit Over Potential Ballot Question On Replacing Minneapolis Police Dept.
“I think the concerns that people have about transparency and accountability in law enforcement are totally legitimate concerns. So I think it’s good the department is going to be moving in this direction to be able to provide some greater transparency and accountability,” Anders Folk, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, said.
Folk says his office will help with the implementation.
“There’s a number of kind of logistical pieces that are going to take some time. Buying the body-worn cameras, getting the cloud storage to store all the data that comes in, getting the training,” Folk explained.
Five of the 12 outside agencies that are part of the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force have suspended their involvement until body worn cameras are used. That includes Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin and Ramsey County Sheriff’s Offices, plus the Department of Corrections.READ MORE: Awwal Adebayo Ladipo, 25, Dies After Assault Leaves Him With Brain Injury
“The local partnerships for these tasks forces are essential. No doubt having our local partners pull back, it’s going to have some impact,” Folk said.
And he admitted the body worn camera rollout will take time.
“I don’t know, but I think it’s going to take months, not days or weeks,” Folk said.
Last month, the Deputy Attorney General gave federal law enforcement agencies like the U.S. Marshals, ATF, FBI, and DEA 30 days to develop a policy and an implementation plan. Those are due next week.MORE NEWS: How Feds Are Working To Crack Down On Crimes Committed With Illegal Firearms
WCCO is told that, during the interim, the U.S. Marshal’s will keep working to seek out fugitives and arrest them. The BCA is investigating the deadly shooting of Winston Smith.
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