On Feb. 2nd, 2022, Minneapolis Police shot and killed 22-year old Amir Locke. The policemen in question had a no-knock search warrant and forcefully entered the apartment that Locke was staying in (which reportedly wasn’t his own, he was simply staying for the night). According to body camera footage, the police were shouting that they had a search warrant and for anyone in the apartment to put their hands up and get on the ground. Locke was only roused from sleep when one of the officers kicked the sofa he was sleeping on, prompting him to reach for his gun, at which point three shots are heard before the video abruptly ends.
Although the police were legally entitled to search the apartment with their no-knock warrant, the warrant was not out on Locke specifically, and the police are unsure whether Locke was in any way related to the homicide investigation for which they obtained the warrant. No-knock warrants are a special kind of warrant that allows officers to enter a property without announcing themselves — the goal is to not give people time to react. However, they’ve become controversial in recent years because of the high risk associated with them like property damage and death.
The incident took place in Minneapolis, the same city where George Floyd died at the hands of police officers in 2020. In the months after Floyd’s death, Mayor Jacob Frey issued new requirements for no-knock warrants however these policies haven't stopped police from using them in certain situations.
According to his parents, Locke had no criminal record and a concealed carry permit for his registered firearm, the same one he had during his encounter with the police. He obtained the permit because he was employed in food delivery and needed protection.
Interim Chief Amelia Huffman noted that the lead officer in the shooting was in a particularly difficult position: he had just entered potentially dangerous territory and noticed someone inside pulling out their gun. Without knowing any details, he had to make a rapid decision to make sure that he and his partners would be safe.
In the wake of its shooting, many are once more calling for an end to no-knock search warrants. It initially began when Breona Taylor was murdered by police using such a warrant, and many have noted the similarities between this shooting and Taylor’s. One such prominent voice is Ben Crump, the Locke family attorney and the same civil rights lawyer who has won settlements for many victims of police brutality, including George Floyd’s family. The incident has prompted the mayor of Minneapolis to place a moratorium on no-knock search warrants and even the White House to expand its limitations on no-knock warrants.