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Minneapolis officially bans no-knock warrants after police kill Amir Locke

by Ezekiel J. Walker
Minneapolis officially bans no-knock warrants after police kill Amir Locke
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The Minneapolis Police Department will officially be prohibited from executing all no-knock search warrants starting April 8, according to the Mayor’s Office.

Mayor Jacob Frey’s new policy will restrict MPD from requesting no-knock search warrants and from responding to requests for similar searches from nearby jurisdictions, according to a statement from Frey’s office.

“The policy is not an outright “ban” on unannounced police entries, as Frey argues there are still certain pressing circumstances where police entry into a property may be necessary.

What are the specific policy changes to no-knock warrants in Minneapolis?

The mayor’s new policy requires law enforcement officers to repeatedly knock and announce their presence and purpose before entering the premises, according to the statement. Officers must wait 20 seconds before entering for all warrants, and they must wait 30 seconds for warrants executed between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The policy also lays out “new, safer entry tactics to deploy when entering a home or premise” of a suspect, according to the statement. There are additional layers of accountability as well, such as the activation of mandatory body-worn cameras and the presence of a supervisor in all planned executions of search warrants. The city will also create an online dashboard to track forced entries by MPD.

No-knock warrants as defined by Gil Scott Heron.

In 1972, musician Gil Scott Heron explained, “it means, simply, that authorities and members of the police force no longer have to knock on your door before entering. They can now knock your door down.”

And knock the door down they have. Over and over again police forces operating on faulty intelligence have invaded their way through doors, windows, and communities, oftentimes leaving unsuspecting and innocent Black victims in their wake.

Too little too late for police victims

 Though Gil Scott Heron poetically warned of no-knocks in the early 70s, the dangerous practice has recently come under new criticism after the shooting deaths of Breonna Taylor in Louisville KY, and Amir Locke in Minnesota.

Black lives lost by no-knocks are more constant than coincidental. Locke, 22, was shot and killed on February 2 during the execution of a no-knock warrant tied to a murder investigation out of nearby St. Paul, Minnesota.

Locke was not named on any of the search warrants as police were looking for his cousin, two others, and evidence tied to that homicide investigation according to CNN.

Amir Locke received no justice.

On Thursday, prosecutors declined to file charges against the Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Amir Locke or any other officers involved in the no-knock warrant service that led to his death.

Officer Mark Hanneman, who shot and killed Locke, returned to active duty on February 28, less than a month after murdering him, a city spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday.

Police misconduct fuels community distrust

For decades across America, police departments have terrorized Black communities who feel damned-if-I-damned-if-I-don’t in response to police no-knocks. 50 years ago Gil Scott Heron embodied the hostility of an exhausted community overrun by a deadly and intrusive police force, warning:

“But if you’re wise, no knocker
You’ll tell your no-knockin’ lackeys
Ha!
No knock on my brother’s head
No knock on my sister’s head
No knock on my brother’s head
No knock on my sister’s head
And double lock your door
Because soon someone may be no-knockin’
Ha, ha!
For you”

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