This American Life: No Time to Knock

February 6, 2022 - 21:42

TEHRAN— Hundreds of protesters rallied in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday to protest the police shooting of Amir Locke, a 22-year-old Black man who was shot to death by officers during a no-knock warrant raid on Wednesday.

Protesters gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center, demanding the resignation of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D), according to CBS Minnesota. They also demanded that Minneapolis police officer Mark Hanneman, who fatally shot Locke, be fired and prosecuted.

Crowds of people gathered and chanted "Amir Locke!" while holding signs with his name written on them, according to videos posted on Twitter. Protesters marched in the streets, causing traffic to back up on several roadways.

Locke was sleeping in an apartment in downtown Minneapolis when the police department's SWAT squad entered the room about 6:48 a.m., shouting "Police!" and "Get on the ground!" for the St. Paul Police Department's homicide unit.

Locke was draped in a white blanket as cops converged on his position on the couch, according to body-worn camera footage released on Thursday. Locke then stood up and was shot many times.

The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) stated it was investigating the event and will look into the no-knock warrant rules.

According to a news release, Locke had a weapon pointed at the policemen when they entered. The department also published a video image of a firearm beside his body.
The shooting comes after George Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in 2020, causing nationwide outrage. Locke's killing grabbed the attention of national civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who held a press conference on Friday with Locke's parents.

During the news conference, Locke's parents, Andre Locke and Karen Wells, denounced the no-knock raid and said the police department had "executed" their son.
"My kid Amir was an entrepreneur," Andre Locke is supposed to have claimed. "He liked learning and asking questions, and he liked the idea of being a part of the music industry."

"My kid was executed on 2/2 of 22," stated Wells. "And now his hopes are shattered."

Following the event, Frey placed a moratorium on no-knock warrants and committed to evaluate the warrant policy with experts who assisted in the creation of Breonna's Law, which banned the use of no-knock warrants in Kentucky. The law was named after Breonna Taylor, who was shot and murdered by police officers during a no-knock raid in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2020.

"Whatever information emerges, it will not change the fact that Amir Locke's life was cut short," Frey said in a statement.

The no-knock warrant appears to have been signed by the judge who prosecuted Derek Chauvin, the cop who killed Floyd.

According to a source who spoke to KARE 11, a local news outlet in Minneapolis, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill approved the no-knock warrant that resulted in Minneapolis police shooting and killing Amir Locke.

Judge Cahill rose to fame as he presided over the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who was eventually convicted of murdering George Floyd.

According to Matt Lehman, a spokesperson for Hennepin County Courts, "Judge Cahill cannot comment on this particular warrant or any warrant he signs since the Minnesota Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits judicial comment in any pending or imminent matter."

While Minneapolis police have not stated why they chose a no-knock warrant the morning Locke was shot, court documents show that a man who resided in the apartment Locke was visiting had previously threatened police.

According to a law enforcement source who spoke to KARE 11 investigative reporter A.J. Lagoe, the warrant that led in Locke's death was not intended to be a no-knock warrant. When Minneapolis police were asked to assist St. Paul police in carrying out the warrant, the MPD urged that the warrant be altered so that it could be carried out without first knocking.

Following the murder of George Floyd, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey instituted a policy prohibiting the use of no-knock warrants, which his campaign referred to as a "ban." In practice, however, Minneapolis cops were still allowed to enter without knocking if they declared themselves before crossing the threshold of the residence they were approaching.

Following the killing of Amir Locke, Frey declared a ban on no-knock warrants in the city.

"I'm issuing a moratorium on both the request and execution of such warrants in Minneapolis to preserve the safety of both the public and officers until a new policy is created," Frey said in a statement.

Systemic racism, combined with unjustified police violence, has generated a lot of difficulties for the United States, which is now battling to keep the people quiet.

With the poverty rate growing, particularly among Black Americans, people have been deprived of their most basic right: the right to life. 

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

What you just read was the Fourth Amendment of the United States’ constitution. Do Black Americans feel secure in their homes now?

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