Amir Locke Case Highlights Different Local And State No-Knock Warrant Laws – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)– The death of Amir Locke at the hands of Minneapolis police has shined a spotlight on the use of no-knock warrants.

On Friday, Mayor Jacob Frey issued a moratorium on the request and execution of no-knock warrants in the city, but it’s led to more questions about the policy that was already thought to be in place.

Frey announced a temporary ban on the request and execution of no-knock warrants in the city, but there are exceptions such as if there’s an imminent threat and it’s approved by the police chief.

In 2020, the city of Minneapolis revised its policy requiring officers to announce their presence and purpose before entry during most no-knock warrants. Something Interim Chief Amelia Huffman says officers did on Wednesday.

That policy wasn’t a ban, and like the new moratorium, had some exceptions.

Attorney and Political Analyst Abou Amara said transparency is lacking.

“If there are these special circumstances where no knocks can take place, the public should be aware of what those circumstances were that gave rise to that decision,” Amara said.

Under state law, the chief of police or a designee and another superior officer must sign off on the no-knock warrant application before a judge can approve. It also limits the time of day it can be executed between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Locke was shot 12 minutes before that window. With the warrant still sealed, it’s unclear the reasoning behind the timing.

“The stature that passed has some pretty big loopholes and if there is a determination made by a supervisor that you can really do it at any time and kind of undermine the intent behind the legislation in the first place,” Amara said.

In a statement, Gov. Tim Walz said in part, “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.”

“This could happen to any Minnesotan so I think we should all step back and ask ourselves, are these no-knock warrants serving the interest of the city, the state or the people of Minnesota,” Amara said.

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