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Minneapolis Suspends No-Knock Warrants After Fatal Police Shooting Of Black Man Amir Locke

Karen Wells, mother of Amir Locke, is surrounded by family and lawyer Jeff Stroms as she speaks at a news conference regarding the death of Locke, who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police’s SWAT team, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., February 4, 2022. REUTERS/Tim Evans

 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Friday announced he’s issuing a moratorium on no-knock warrants in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Amir Locke on February 2, KARE 11 reported. The 22-year-old Black man was killed by Minneapolis police as officers were executing a no-knock warrant at an apartment he was in.

Locke’s shooting death triggered protests in the city over the weekend and reinvigorated calls for the end of no-knock warrants. “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,” Frey said in a statement.

The mayor added that the city will also be “bringing in national experts DeRay McKesson and Dr. Pete Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University to review and suggest revisions to the department’s policy.”

McKesson and Kraska reportedly played key roles in the creation of “Breonna’s Law” following the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor in March 2020. The Black woman was also similarly killed as Kentucky police were executing a no-knock search warrant at her apartment.

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Police body camera footage of Locke’s killing was released last Thursday. In the video, Locke is seen covered in a blanket and sleeping on a couch in the apartment. After an officer kicks the couch, Locke wakes up and he is shortly seen holding a pistol. An officer subsequently opens fire on Locke. The fatal incident lasted less than 10 seconds.

In the wake of the fatal encounter, Locke’s parents labeled his killing as an execution, adding that he was a deep sleeper who got startled after the officer kicked the couch, NBC News reported. The deceased Black man’s family also said he was licensed to carry a firearm, and he grabbed the weapon to defend himself.

Following the incident, law enforcement sources who spoke to KARE 11 said the warrant that was served at the apartment wasn’t initially a no-knock warrant. But after the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) was asked to help St. Paul Police serve the warrant, the MPD demanded the warrant be changed to allow them to enter the apartment without first knocking and announcing their presence.

“Like the case of Breonna Taylor, the tragic killing of Amir Locke shows a pattern of no-knock warrants having deadly consequences for Black Americans,” Locke’s family attorney, Benjamin Crump, said in a statement on Friday. “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.”

Meanwhile, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced his office will be working with other agencies to investigate Locke’s killing. “I promise the Locke family and all Minnesotans that we will work with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office to conduct a fair and thorough review of the BCA investigation and that we will be guided by the values of accountability and transparency,” Ellison posted on social media.

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