No-knock warrant provision aired in conference committee
ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - A few controversial proposals could trip up bills on the way to the finish line as the Minnesota legislature sprints to the end of this year’s session.
One of them is a near-total ban on no-knock warrants that passed the House but not the Senate.
Democrats added the language to a public safety funding bill last week, and they’re laying out their case to state senators this week.
The risks of no-knock warrants came into sharp focus in February 2022 when a Minneapolis police officer shot and killed Amir Locke.
He was at the home targeted by the warrant but was not at all involved in the investigation leading police there.
"I really don’t want to see another family go through this," said St. Sen. Clare Oumou Verbeten, DFL-St. Paul.
Rep. Brion Curran introduced an amendment to the public safety funding bill banning no-knock warrants in Minnesota unless officers may be in jeopardy of violence or death without one.
"The further we limit the scope of this tool, it is safer for the public is, and it is safer for law enforcement," said Rep. Curran, DFL-Vadnais Heights.
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association opposes the proposal from Curran, who is a former Chisago County Sheriff’s deputy. They object to the legislature removing a tool from their toolbox.
But Rep. Kelly Moller pointed out St. Paul Police haven’t used a no-knock warrant in eight years and the new restrictions wouldn’t prevent officers from going into any home in an emergency.
"Police responding to a 911 call or something happening at the scene where they need to go in right away, those are still allowed," said Rep. Moller, DFL-Shoreview.
The conference committee working to reconcile the House and Senate bills hasn’t altered anything yet, but it’s expected to approve significant changes to current state law.
"I, for one, am very excited to be on the cusp of what I think are historic investments and policy changes in Minnesota," said St. Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park.
The committee will get back to business Tuesday and their agenda could also include red flag laws and criminal background checks on all gun sales.
Staffers tell FOX 9, a final version of the public safety funding bill should be finished this week.