After Amir Locke shooting, Minneapolis mayor temporarily bans no-knock warrants

Mayor Jacob Frey says he has ordered a temporary ban on no-knock warrants in Minneapolis amid outcry over Amir Locke’s death.

Two days after a Minneapolis SWAT team member shot and killed Amir Locke while serving a no-knock search warrant in a downtown apartment, Minneapolis Jacob Frey imposed the moratorium on the request and execution of no-knock warrants in the city Friday evening.

"No matter what information comes to light, it won’t change the fact that Amir Locke’s life was cut short," said Frey in the news release. "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."

But the ban includes an important exception: "To execute a no-knock warrant under the moratorium, there must be an imminent threat of harm to an individual or the public and then the warrant must be approved by the Chief," Frey says.

MORE: Minneapolis mayor releases bodycam video after police shot, killed Amir Locke

Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, was not the subject of the search warrant the Minneapolis SWAT Team was serving to assist St. Paul Homicide Division. Authorities have not said which investigation the search warrant was connected to.

Body camera video shows that Locke was wrapped underneath a blanket on a couch when police entered the apartment at 6:48 a.m. Wednesday. Locke, whose family and attorneys have said he had a permit to carry, is seen starting to raise himself up from under the blanket with a firearm in his hand when Officer Mark Hanneman shot him three times.

No-knock warrants in Minnesota

Minnesota law states, "a search warrant may be served only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. unless the court determines on the basis of facts stated in the affidavits that a nighttime search outside those hours is necessary to prevent the loss, destruction, or removal of objects of the search, or to protect the searchers or the public."

The practice is often used by law enforcement agencies to surprise suspects that might otherwise be confrontational, or mitigate the risk of potential evidence destruction. Minnesota law requires police to outline why they cannot use a regular "knock and announce" warrant, and two high-ranking officials in the police agency must sign off on the application.

RELATED: No-knock warrant in Locke case raises questions about Minnesota search law

In the aftermath of the Breonna Taylor murder in Baltimore that caught national attention for its use of a "no-knock" warrant, on the campaign trail Mayor Jacob Frey criticized the use of such warrants and pledged Minneapolis would reduce the use of them, if not eliminate the practice entirely.

Frey had not placed a ban on "no-knock" warrants, but then-police chief Medaria Arradondo restricted their use via a policy change in November 2020.

In his first public comments about the shooting, on Friday Gov. Tim Walz called for "further reform" to Minnesota's no-knock warrant law.

Whether or not legislators will address the state law this session remains to be seen, though calls to address the issue are increasing from both sides of the aisle. 

MORE: Minnesota Gov. Walz activates National Guard in St. Paul, Minneapolis