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Students Protest Amir Locke Killing, Demand Lawmakers Ban No-Knock Warrants

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- "Protect Young Black Lives" -- those are the words that a crowd of hundreds carried through St. Paul, as students throughout the Twin Cities walked out of class Tuesday in protest of the police killing of Amir Locke.

In St. Paul, hundreds of students at Central High School gathered outside the building around noon to hold a rally, which was organized by the Black Student Union and the nonprofit Minnesota Teen Activists.

The students are demanding justice for Locke and for an end to no-knock warrants in Minnesota. The students walked to the governor's mansion to make their voices heard.

"I feel like we've all had this concern with Breonna Taylor, when we saw her case happen with the no-knock warrant," said Grace Mutondo, a senior. "We saw also how Kentucky took over and how they banned the no-knock warrants."

The students say it's important for young people to speak up.

"It shows we're not just little kids. If we know we can make a change, we're more than happy to do it," said Nevaeh Wiley, another senior at the high school. "It is truly traumatizing to know I have brothers, uncles, friends that could have their lives taken in a matter of seconds."

Central High School is the leader in Tuesday's walkout. Several other Minnesota high schools and middle schools are also participating in the protest.

Minnesota Teen Activists organized the event. They also want a full review of MPD's SWAT practices and the resignation of the interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

"If somebody was busting into my house and I had a gun, I would have been in the same situation he was, I would have been scared," senior Kjan Williams said.

The message went beyond the walls of schools. There were parents in the crowd, too, in support of their kids walking out of class.

"This young man that was sleeping was just a couple years older than my kids and I can't stand for it," one parent said.

The demonstration comes nearly a week after Minneapolis police fatally shot Locke during an early morning no-knock raid at a downtown Minneapolis apartment.

Body-camera footage of the shooting showed that the 22-year-old was sleeping on a couch with a gun when officers burst through the threshold. Officer Mark Hanneman shot Locke three times roughly 10 seconds after entering the apartment.

The no-knock raid was done as part of a St. Paul murder investigation. On Tuesday, documents showed that police were looking for Locke's cousin, 17-year-old Mekhi Speed, who was wanted for killing a man in St. Paul last month. Speed has since been arrested.

So far this year, police have executed at least 11 no-knock warrants in Minneapolis. Last year, the city issued 78 no-knock warrants. For 2020, that number was notably higher, at 171 no-knock warrants.

Later Tuesday, House Democrats at the state capitol plan to introduce legislation that would ban no-knock warrants in Minnesota.

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