Locke's death: Cop safety cited in no knock warrant

According to documents released Thursday, authorities searching the Minneapolis apartment where Amir Locke was murdered by a SWAT team member stated that a no-knock warrant was required to protect officers and the public as they searched for weapons, drugs, and clothing belonging to people suspected of a violent crime.

Locke's death: Cop safety cited in no knock warrant

The search warrants were executed at the apartment complex Feb. 2, and the applications were released on the same day Locke's family renewed their call for a ban of no-knock warrants.

Minneapolis police confirmed that the warrants did not name Locke, a 22-year-old Black. Mekhi Camden Speed (17-year-old cousin to Locke) was identified and arrested this week. She was charged with second-degree murder.

St. Paul police officer Daniel Zebro requested that search warrants be granted to officers so they can conduct the search without knocking and after hours. This was because the suspects in the Jan. 10, murder of Otis Elder had a history of violence. Zebro also pointed out that Elder was shot with a.223 caliber gun, which Zebro said could penetrate body armor.

Peter Cahill, a Hennepin County judge who presided over the murder trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in George Floyd's death, signed the warrant. A court spokesperson said that Cahill couldn't comment on the warrant as the case is still pending.

Locke was shot to death seconds after SWAT officers entered the apartment where he was living with his family. A body camera video shows an officer using a key and entering the apartment. They are followed by at most four officers wearing uniforms and protective vests. The time stamp is at 6:48 AM.

The video shows Locke wrapped in a blanket and holding a gun. The video ends after three shots.

Minneapolis police claim Locke was shot by officers after he pointed his gun at them. However, Locke's family questions that.

Protests have erupted following Locke's passing. Last week, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared a moratorium upon such warrantswhile outside experts are brought in to review the city's policy. Some legislators are calling for a nationwide ban except in exceptional circumstances.

Locke's family and other relatives who lost their lives in police encounters appeared at the Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota on Thursday to demand that no-knock warrants be banned statewide. Ben Crump, Locke's family attorney, recalled how he thought things would change following the death of Floyd. He also highlighted the importance of police brutality.

Crump stated that even though they thought they were being heard, their proclamations rang hollow when it came to calling for more restraint and constitutional protections against excessive force. Crump also called upon President Joe Biden "in the name Amir Locke to ban no-knock warrants used by federal agents" and suggested that other states follow his lead.

Crump also represented Floyd's family. He and reached an $27 million settlement in Floyd's death with the city. They also shouted: "If there was a no-knock ban, let's just be clear, Amir Locke wouldn't still be here."

These warrants were issued as part of the investigation into Elder's murder. Elder, a 38 year-old father, was found dead on Jan. 10, with his body lying in the street. Police believe it was an apparent robbery. According to court documents, Elder's SUV contained drugs and money.

Police sought warrants to require them to knock on multiple locations and to allow them to enter unannounced while they investigated the murder. Zebro stated that the warrants were necessary to "prevent loss, destruction, or removal of objects during the search or to protect searchers and the public."

Zebro stated that Elder was murdered violently and that Speed and the other suspects were seen later entering the Minneapolis apartment building. Zebro also claimed that Speed was caught on surveillance video trying to hide an item.

According to warrant applications, Speed and others (some of whom are named, some not) have a history in violent crimes including robberies and incidents involving guns or fleeing police. He stated that investigators had also been monitoring their "Instagram" and Facebook accounts. There, the suspects were posting videos and photos while holding different firearms.

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