Amir Locke was Shot and Killed By Minneapolis Police While They Were Executing a No-Knock Warrant
Last week, Amir Locke — a 22-year-old Black man — was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer while they were executing a no knock warrant. Reports confirm Locke was not named in the search warrant that led police to the home where Locke was sleeping when he was killed by police. This senseless and preventable tragedy highlights the critical need for significantly reforming the use of no-knock warrants and meaningful, systemic change to a policing system that disproportionately impacts Black Americans. This afternoon, Representative Athena Hollins was joined by Speaker Melissa Hortman, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, Rep. Cedrick Frazier and Rep. Esther Agbaje, as well as Nneka Constantino and Neka Gray, members of Amir Locke’s family, to announce legislation to significantly restrict the use of no-knock warrants that will be introduced in the House soon.
“We must do all we can to make sure that what happened to Amir Locke never happens to anyone else — that means taking swift action to significantly reform the use of no-knock warrants, and fighting for meaningful, systemic police reform,” said Libby Holden, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action in Minnesota. “Amir should still be alive today. We will continue standing with the Minneapolis community, and his family, in fighting for justice and change to a policing system that continues to disproportionately take the lives of Black people.”
No-knock warrants allow police officers to enter a home without announcing their presence, and pose inherent and deadly dangers. After Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police after a no-knock warrant was issued to the Louisville Police Department, authorizing law enforcement to enter Taylor’s apartment without knocking and announcing their presence, Kentucky lawmakers unanimously passed legislation to significantly limit the use of no-knock warrants and require safeguards to prevent their misuse. Minnesota lawmakers must take action to prevent tragedies like the death of Locke from happening again, and reform the use of no-knock warrants by police officers across the state.
The urgent need for further reform of no-knock warrants must also be part of meaningful police reform and implementation of specific use-of-force policies. One 2016 study of 91 large police departments found adoption of use-of-force reform policies — exhaustion of other means prior to shooting, bans on chokeholds and strangleholds, use-of-force continuum, de-escalation, duty to intervene, restrictions on shootings at moving vehicles, and warning before shooting — was associated with fewer people killed by police.
Every year, police in the U.S. shoot and kill more than 1,000 people. Black Americans are nearly three times more likely to be shot and killed by police than white people. 11 people die in shootings by police in an average year in Minnesota. More information about police violence is available here. Learn more about gun violence in Minnesota here.