The Minneapolis Police Department insisted the St. Paul Police Department obtain a no-knock warrant for the raid on a Minneapolis apartment that resulted in an officer fatally shooting 22-year-old Amir Locke.
Law enforcement sources told Bring Me The News on Friday the warrant that SPPD originally secured a "knock warrant" but the MPD, who was asked to execute the warrant on behalf of SPPD, insisted they be allowed to go into the apartment without knocking, so a no-knock warrant was then secured.
No-knock warrants have come under increased scrutiny in recent years particularly since the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.
In November 2020, Mayor Jacob Frey announced steps had been taken to restrict the use of no-knock warrants in Minneapolis, but MinnPost reported that MPD continued to apply for permission to use them on dozens of occasions in the year that followed.
Interim MPD Chief Amelia Huffman on Thursday night said no-knock and knock search warrants were obtained for three units in Bolero Flats. Doing this, she said, would give officers to chance to assess the circumstances and make the best decision.
Locke was also not named as a subject of the search warrant, reports state.
The warrant was being executed in connection to a homicide investigation in St. Paul. It's not been made public yet what or whom police were searching for at the apartment.
The warrant has not yet been filed with the court. Authorities have 10 days to do so after a warrant is executed.
Officers at 6:48 a.m. on Wednesday used a key and burst into the apartment unit at Bolero Flats in downtown Minneapolis, shouting "Police search warrant" after walking through the door. Bodycam footage, released Thursday evening, shows Locke under a blanket on the couch, seemingly sleeping, when officers enter with guns drawn and flashlights on. Part of his head emerges from the blanket. He can also be seen holding a gun, though it is not pointed at officers and his finger doesn't appear to be on the trigger.
And then Officer Mark Hanneman fatally shot Locke as he began to rise from underneath the blanket.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said Locke died of "multiple gunshot wounds" at 7:01 a.m., 13 minutes after he was shot. His manner of death is a homicide, which only means his death was caused by another person and is not a legal determination.
The Hennepin County Attorney's Office and the Minnesota Attorney General will work together to review for possible charges against the officer who killed Locke.
Locke's death has sparked the renewal of calls to get rid of no-knock warrants altogether, with some police departments, including St. Paul, already limiting their use because they can be so high-risk. St. Paul hasn't carried out a no-knock warrant since 2016, according to spokesman Steve Linders.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Locke's family, criticized the use of a no-knock warrant, saying there's a "pattern of no-knock warrants having deadly consequences for Black Americans."
"This is yet another example of why we need to put an end to these kinds of search warrants so that one day, Black Americans will be able to sleep safely in their beds at night. We will continue pushing for answers in this case so that Amir’s grieving family can get the closure they deserve," Crump added.
On Friday morning, Gov. Tim Walz echoed calls for further reform, stating: "Minnesota made strides last year, passing statewide restrictions on the use of no-knock warrants. But the events leading to the death of Amir Locke illustrate the need for further reform. To ensure the safety of both residents and law enforcement, we need to make additional changes to police policies and practices regarding the execution of search warrants."
Bring Me The News has reached out to the City of Minneapolis for comment.