J&C Law & Change: Minneapolis suspend no-Knock warrants after police killing of Amir Locke. ☕☕☕

Ayyyeee…What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves the city of Minneapolis, their police department and new rules due to a police killing of a black man.

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey announced a moratorium on no-knock warrants one day after the Police Department released body camera footage of its SWAT team fatally shooting a man who was lying on a couch under a blanket during an early morning raid.

The man who was killed, his name was Amir Locke, 22, had a gun in his hand, but it is unclear whether he was aware that police officers had entered the apartment shortly before 7 a.m. Keith Ellison, the attorney general of Minnesota, who led the prosecutions of former police officers in the killings of George Floyd and Daunte Wright, said his office would join a review of the police shooting. The mayor said no-knock warrants could not be requested or conducted while the city evaluated its current policy.

The video released by the Police Department on Thursday night shows the encounter from Wednesday morning, when its SWAT team had been carrying out a warrant for the Saint Paul Police Department’s homicide unit.

In a published news release the day of the shooting, the Police Department said officers had performed emergency aid on Locke, who died at a nearby hospital.

The Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement that one officer fired shots at Mr. Locke, and it released the personnel file of Officer Mark Hanneman.

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer representing Locke’s family, compared the shooting of Locke, who was Black, to the killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black medical worker who was fatally shot by Louisville police officers in March 2020 during a botched raid on her apartment. “If we learned anything from Breonna Taylor it is that no-knock warrants have deadly consequences for innocent, law-abiding Black citizens,” Crump said at a news conference.

Locke’s father, Andre Locke, said at the news conference that his son was the third oldest of eight siblings. He said his son had been working for the food delivery service DoorDash and was “a week away” from moving to Dallas, where his mother, Karen Wells, lives. Andre Locke said that several of his cousins worked in law enforcement and that one of them was a mentor to Amir.

“It was hurtful, it hurt deep to see my son executed, to see our son executed,” Locke said. “But the part that struck me the most was that he never got a chance to see or to know who killed him.” Wells said she and her son would frequently talk on the FaceTime app when they were apart. “I am going to miss just being able to see my son grow into a man, that’s what I am going to miss,” Wells said. “I am going to miss the fact that he didn’t, he won’t even get the chance to become a father and give us grandchildren.”

Tony Romanucci who is another lawyer representing Locke’s family, said Mr. Locke had “no idea” who was in his apartment. “Had they announced who they were and why they were there, this tragedy could have been averted,” Romanucci said. Mayor Frey said in a statement on Friday that no-knock warrants would not be allowed while the city reviewed its policy with experts who helped create “Breonna’s Law,” an ordinance passed after Taylor’s death that bans no-knock warrants in Louisville. During the moratorium, which the mayor said was “to ensure safety of both the public and officers,” the police must knock, announce their presence and wait a reasonable amount of time before entering with a warrant.

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