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Basic Questions Answered On Search Warrants, Releasing Body-Camera Video

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Many questions remain concerning the fatal police shooting of a man Wednesday morning in a downtown Minneapolis apartment.

Minneapolis police said they were serving a search warrant in a St. Paul murder case. Investigators say officers in a SWAT team announced themselves loudly as they entered a unit at the Bolero Flats, located at 11th Street and Marquette Avenue.

Police say a 22-year-old man, whom community members have identified as Amir Locke, had a gun in his hand when an officer shot him.

Still, questions remain. For starters: What is the difference between a search warrant and an arrest warrant?

"A search warrant is signed by a judge and allows police to search a location," said criminal defense attorney Joe Tamburino, who is not affiliated with the case.

Search warrants can be for a person, or in order to obtain something, like DNA. An arrest warrant is always for an individual.

In this case, police say Locke had a gun in his hand.

Is it legal to have a gun inside a residence?

"Yes," Tamburino said. "As long as you are not a felon."

Locke does not have any criminal record in the state of Minnesota.

The biggest question in this case: Why hasn't the police body-cam video been released?

Video in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center last April was released within 24 hours.

"There is a thing called the Data Practices Act, and it says investigative material may not be released until the case is over," Tamburino said.

A big exception: police can release body cam video early to "promote public safety, dispel rumor or unrest."

Some people are also asking: Does it make a difference if a search warrant is for an apartment or a single family home?

"No, it does not," Tamburino said.

However, leases at most apartments do allow first responders in. WCCO checked, and the leases at Bolero flats have a clause that allows the apartment building to allow police and firefighters into an apartment without the residents permission at basically any time, for any reason.

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