Documents made public Thursday (Feb. 10) provide new insight into the “no-knock” warrant used in a botched police raid that ended with the fatal shooting of Amir Locke in Minneapolis.
According to USA Today, the Minneapolis Police Department insisted on using a pre-dawn no-knock search warrant in the joint operation with the St. Paul Police Department. Initially, St. Paul police requested a “knock and announce” warrant, per department’s policy. In the end, the two agencies requested and received approval for an unannounced raid.
On Feb. 2, officers, using a key, entered the unit where Locke, 22, was seen apparently sleeping on a couch in a graphic and brief body camera video. Locke was shot within 10 seconds of the encounter. MPD Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman later confirmed that Locke was not named in the warrant.
In their warrant request, investigators said a no-knock warrant was need to protect the public and officers who were searching for guns, drugs and the clothing worn by violent murder suspects, the Associated Press reported.
Locke’s cousin, Mekhi Camden Speed, 17, was named on the warrant. The police had information that he lived with his mother in apartment 1402 of the building that was raided, and also has a key to 701 — where police shot Locke. Speed was arrested on Feb. 7, two days after the botched raid, and charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the Jan 10. fatal shooting of Otis Rodney Elder, 38.
Reuters reported that Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill signed the warrant. He is the same judge who presided over the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted in April 2021 of murdering George Floyd.
"The court further finds that no-knock entry, without announcement of authority or purpose, is necessary to prevent the loss, destruction, or removal of the objects of said search or to protect the safety of the searchers or the public," said the document Cahill signed.
According to USA Today, the Minneapolis police tightened its policies on requesting a no-knock warrant in November 2020 but never banned them. Meanwhile, the St. Paul police had not used a “no-knock” warrant since 2016 but makes exceptions when working with other law enforcement agencies.
"The initial search warrant is based on how we handle things. And then we talked to our partners, the other agency and of course, during that discussion, they make their desires clear and then we readjust," St. Paul Police Department spokesman Steve Linders told the newspaper.