Two days after a Minneapolis police officer fatally shot 22-year-old Amir Locke while serving a no-knock search warrant in a downtown apartment, a moratorium on the request and execution of such warrants is being implemented in the city.
Interim MPD chief Amelia Huffman informed officers of the new policy on Friday afternoon, which was then confirmed by Mayor Jacob Frey in a public statement.
While no-knock warrants are frozen, Frey says he will work with Eastern Kentucky University's DeRay McKesson and Dr. Pete Kraska, who helped implement reform to no-knock police entries in Louisville after police killed Breonna Taylor in March 2020.
The moratorium comes two days too late for Locke, who died of multiple gunshot wounds when MPD SWAT officer Mark Hanneman opened fire after he and the SWAT team breached the seventh floor unit at the Bolero Flats at 6:48 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2.
Law enforcement sources told Bring Me The News on Friday the St. Paul police originally secured "knock warrants" for three apartments in the building, but that the MPD insisted that they would not carry out the searches unless no-knock warrants were secured.
“No matter what information comes to light, it won’t change the fact that Amir Locke’s life was cut short,” Frey said in a prepared statement Friday. “To ensure safety of both the public and officers until a new policy is crafted, I’m issuing a moratorium on both the request and execution of such warrants in Minneapolis. I am grateful that Mr. McKesson and Dr. Kraska have agreed to assess our current policy and lend their expertise to further revisions.”
Saint Paul already limits the use of no-knock warrants because they are high-risk. In fact, the last time St. Paul police carried out a no-knock warrant was in 2016, according to police spokesperson Steve Linders.
The police killing of Locke, who was described by his parents as a "good kid" with a "beautiful smile," has again increased police-community tensions in Minneapolis. It has been reported that Locke's name was not on the search warrant and no information provided to the public has connected him in any way to St. Paul's homicide investigation.
Locke had a gun in his possession, but bodycam video shows it was not pointed at any officers. He was a legal permit holder, his family and attorneys say.
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.
Gov. Tim Walz has also called for further police reform statewide, specifically related to no-knock search warrants.