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As Mpls. Mayor Takes Heat For No-Knock Ban Claims, City Council Set To Scrutinize Policies

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis City Council's oversight committee is holding a discussion on no-knock policies Monday, and they will have guests.

The meeting comes five days after a Minneapolis Police Department SWAT team member fatally shot 22-year-old Amir Locke inside a downtown apartment during a no-knock raid.

Rachel Moran, a professor at University of St. Thomas School of Law who studies police accountability and reform, was just asked this weekend to present to the committee. But she will have a lot to say Monday.

Moran's role will be educational. She will go over what Mayor Jacob Frey and the state legislature have done to change and limit no-knock warrants. She tells WCCO they are used for two reasons: When officer safety is a concern with a regular warrant, or when it's likely evidence would be destroyed.

Amir Locke
Amir Locke (credit: Racial Justice Network)

But of course, they're risky for the people inside and the officers because of the element of surprise. What happened to Locke is the worst possible outcome.

"Part of the goal is to make sure all of the council member, who will probably have some difficult decisions ahead of them, understand what no-knock search warrants are and what Minneapolis has experimented with policy-wise," Moran said. "It's tragic that someone would lose their life for the city to pay attention to this issue. The reality is though a lot of times attention happens after a tragedy. That's not how it should work. It's past time for both Minneapolis and Minnesota broadly to be proactive about thinking about policing instead of reactive."

Also on the agenda to speak Monday are the three attorneys representing Locke's family, including Ben Crump.

Mayor Frey has been invited as well. Frey is taking heat this weekend from protesters and people on social media for claiming he had banned no-knock warrants, when in fact he hadn't.

His campaign website listed it as an achievement last year before the mayor's re-election. Many have noticed this weekend it's no longer there.

On Sunday night, his campaign told WCCO the language was removed in October as part of a broader re-write of many sections of the website. What his policy change in 2020 did to was ban unannounced entries during no-knock warrants.

The campaign said in a statement," Mayor Frey's policy reform required officers to announce presence and purpose prior to entry when serving any type of warrant, including no-knock warrants." They acknowledged the confusion with the language that was on the website and that they should have been more specific.

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