Last week, Minneapolis police killed 22-year-old Amir Locke showing it’s not enough to “reign in” no-knock warrants. The practice needs to end. Associate director-counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Jani Nelson said Locke’s killing might have been prevented had Congress passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
“The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would have banned the use of no-knock warrants federally, but Congress failed to pass this critical legislation despite the demands of tens of millions of protestors to create a just public safety system,” Nelson said in a statement. “State and local jurisdictions have also largely failed to protect their residents by outlawing these and other draconian law enforcement practices and excessive uses of force.”
Although the legislation directly impacted federal law enforcement, local and state agencies who received federal funds would also be expected to comply. Nelson called Locke’s killing the result of failures at multiple levels of government.
“This past Wednesday, we witnessed the horrifying effects of Congressional, state, and local failure to fully ban no-knock warrants in the same city where George Floyd was also brutally murdered by members of MPD,” Nelson said. “It took law enforcement only seconds after entering the residence where Mr. Locke was asleep with a warrant that did not even bear his name to shoot and kill him in a harrowing sequence that is emblematic of ongoing police brutality against Black people.”
Locke’s killing underscores the continued failure of traditional policing to keep individuals and communities safe.
Minneapolis officials skirted around an outright ban of the practice, despite Mayor Jacob Frey’s re-election website claiming he banned the practice. A group “aligned” with Frey’s re-election bid also had the same language on its site. It is unclear when the group removed the page from its website, but several community members and journalists noted the change after Locke’s killing.
While Minneapolis has temporarily suspended the practice, Nelson said the prior restriction on no-knock warrants “appears to have had little effect.” Frey and his supporters worked overtime to undermine a ballot initiative to replace the current police department with a Department of Public Safety and meaningful accountability.
There is an expectation that average citizens, often asleep, should have a better response time and alertness than trained law enforcement. Officers are excused for their reaction to a dangerous situation of their own creation in a society that permits people to arm and defend themselves.
Why are people expected to have greater situational awareness when they wake up than officers trained in the line of duty to respond?
Minneapolis police carried out a warrant for their St. Paul counterparts, insisting on the no-knock warrant. News KARE 11 reported Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over the Derek Chauvin murder trial, signed the warrant.
According to an expert testifying before the Minneapolis City Council, St. Paul has not executed a no-knock warrant since 2016.
As previously reported by NewsOne, no-knock warrants are remnants of the War on Drugs, and in some cases, officers lie to judges to justify the issuance. The prior reporting cited a Vox explainer, published several years before police killed Breonna Taylor. The Vox explainer also noted the racial disparity in who is allowed to justify self-defense when mistaking police for intruders.
While there is a temporary ban on the practice in place, it’s clear the Minneapolis police department needs more than a lip service of reforms. The department is already under investigation by the Department of Justice.
“We demand an immediate, rigorous, transparent, and comprehensive investigation into the officers involved in this incident, as well as into the full circumstances surrounding the issuance and execution of the no-knock warrant that precipitated Mr. Locke’s killing,” Nelson said. “In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice’s pattern-or practice investigation of MPD, which it initiated in April 2021, must address the agency’s continuing use of no-knock warrants and its continuing failure to protect Minneapolis residents, especially its Black residents, from excessive uses of force.”
Federal Action On Police Reform Could Have Banned No-Knock Warrants And Saved Amir Locke’s Life was originally published on newsone.com
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