The final search warrant application justifying the police raid that killed Amir Locke argued a nighttime, no-knock approach would "increase officer safety" and "decrease the risk for injuries to ... other residents nearby."
The three executed search warrant applications for three separate units in the Bolero Flats apartment building were made public Thursday morning — eight days after a Minneapolis police officer on a SWAT team serving one of the warrants shot and killed Locke less than 10 seconds after breaching the apartment.
One of the units was on the 7th floor, where Locke was fatally shot. The other two were located on the 14th floor.
The search warrant applications detail the evidence law enforcement had and the items they were seeking in connection with the Jan. 10 St. Paul homicide that spurred the raids. A 17-year-old has been charged with murder in connection with that killing.
Locke's name does not appear anywhere on the applications. There is no indication whatsoever the 22-year-old was involved in, or had knowledge of, either that killing or the various other crimes mentioned in these documents.
In addition to the executed search warrants, Thursday also saw the release of the three initial search warrant applications submitted by a St. Paul police officer.
What can the previously sealed documents tell us?
Those original search warrant applications (approved by a Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill on Jan. 31 and never executed) do not request an unannounced, no-knock warrant. Nor do they ask for a nighttime search, instead stating the raids will take place during the standard 7 a.m.-8 p.m. window.
Both of those things changed in the search warrant applications submitted to the Hennepin County judge on Feb. 1. These are the search warrants that SWAT teams executed the following morning.
In these three re-submitted applications, sections have been added asking for the judge to OK both a no-knock entry and a nighttime raid outside of 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
These added sections argue a nighttime, no-knock search was "necessary" to prevent evidence from being destroyed or removed. They also reference the St. Paul homicide, the "numerous crimes" police allege the suspects were involved in as well as their "history of violent crimes," and social media posts by those individuals in which they are displaying guns and cash.
The revised warrants also highlight law enforcement's belief that the St. Paul homicide was committed with a .223-caliber firearm that could be in one of the apartments — noting .223-caliber rifle rounds can penetrate police body armor.
In concluding the requests for both no-knock and nighttime execution of the search warrants, the submitter writes: "This will not only increase officer safety, but it will also decrease the risk for injuries to the suspects and other residents nearby."
The signature from Hennepin County Judge Cahill authorized law enforcement to enter and search the three apartments "without announcement of authority and purpose," either during standard hours or overnight.
Law enforcement sources have previously told Bring Me The News the Minneapolis Police Department insisted it have the option of a no-knock entrance as part of the search warrants.
The SWAT raid that resulted in Locke's killing occurred at 6:48 a.m., meaning it would be considered a nighttime raid under state statute.
Bodycam footage shows officers quietly unlock the apartment unit's entrance, without announcing their presence in any way before opening the door and entering the unit. Once inside, they begin to yell "Police!" and "Search warrant!"
The footage shows Locke, wrapped in a blanket on the living room couch and appearing to have been roused from sleep, briefly begin to sit up. He is holding a handgun, though it is not pointed at officers and his finger does not appear to be on the trigger.
An officer, later identified as Mark Hanneman, fires three shots just before the video clip ends. The bodycam footage does not capture any commands for Locke to drop the weapon, nor does any officer state Locke has a weapon.