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Mpls. Mayor Announces Policy Proposal That Will Prohibit No-Knock Warrants

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced Monday afternoon a proposed policy that will significantly change the police department's warrant and entry policy, including the prohibition of no-knock, no-announcement search warrants.

"This is the most forward-thinking policy in the country," Frey said in a press conference.

Frey says the proposed policy change includes applying for these types of warrants in another jurisdiction.

"In the coming two to three weeks, we are going to be working with our legal team to make sure the writing on the page is what I'm telling you today," Frey said. "We want to do this right ... we want to set a tone."

In addition to prohibition of these types of warrants, the new policy would also require a 20-second wait time while executing search warrants during the day, and 30 seconds at night. Training would be part of the new policy as well.

Still, Frey says there are exceptions to the rule in extreme circumstances, such as a hostage situation.

The announcement comes five weeks after the fatal shooting of Amir Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, as officers executed a no-knock warrant inside a downtown apartment building.

When officers entered the apartment on the morning of Feb. 2, Locke was wrapped in a blanket on a couch. As officers approached, he sat up with a gun in his hand, body-camera video of the shooting showed. Officer Mark Hanneman shot Locke three times. Locke died minutes later.

DeRay McKesson of Campaign Zero says the goal of the new policy was to reduce contact with police and citizens – and save lives.

"What is powerful about this policy is that every search warrant will require a waiting time," McKesson said. "If the policy proposed today becomes policy, Minneapolis will be the first city where every warrant has a waiting time."

Locke's death prompted calls for a rehaul in search warrant application and execution in the city, including the ban on no-knock warrants.

Minnesota House Democrats proposed strengthening the requirements to obtain a no-knock warrant. The bill would allow those warrants only if there is "imminent risk of death or great bodily harm" to somebody held against their will, like a hostage or kidnapping situation. It also requires new quarterly police training on warrants and would bar officers from executing them without that education.

Some members of law enforcement testified to a House committee they had concerns about the proposed restrictions and new training requirements. One of the sharpest critics was St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson, who said that the standard to get a warrant is already high—and the bar to clear to get an unannounced warrant is even higher.

He also called the trainings "unfunded mandates" that would burden small law enforcement agencies without the resources.

Some members of the GOP-controlled Senate have signaled a willingness to discuss further limits to no-knock warrants, but it's unclear if they will support this bill. Republicans in the House committee voted against it.

Frey previously pledged to rework the Minneapolis police policy, which at one time he falsely claimed "banned" no-knock warrants when it didn't. In the days following the shooting, Frey put in place a temporary pause on requesting and executing no-knock warrants in Minneapolis with an exception for circumstances where there is an "imminent threat of harm."

The three lawyers representing Amir Locke's family -- Ben Crump, Jeff Storms and Antonio Romanucci -- released this statement Monday about Frey's announcement:

We are encouraged by this proposal to prohibit no-knock warrant applications and executions by Minneapolis Police Department officers and other policy updates that will help keep Minneapolis residents safe. We hope these proposed reforms are not only implemented in Minneapolis but also spread throughout local, state, and federal governments so there can be protections in place nationwide to prevent another person from suffering the tragedy that took the lives of Amir Locke or Breonna Taylor.

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