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RELEASE: Black lawmakers join Amir Locke’s family to propose tougher restrictions on no-knock warrants

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Minnesota House of Representatives




CONTACT:  Lindy Sowmick

989-289-8593 (cell) or

February 8, 2022

Black lawmakers join Amir Locke’s family to propose tougher restrictions on no-knock warrants

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – This afternoon, Black legislators, supported by House DFL Leadership, stood together to announce new legislation establishing tougher restrictions on no-knock warrants statewide. Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL – Saint Paul) is authoring the bill, which builds on law passed last year. The new legislation includes a high bar for exceptions, only allowing no-knock warrants to be used in extreme circumstances where there is evidence that a civilian’s life would otherwise be put in danger. Bill language is being finalized with the goal of a public hearing next week. The push for statewide change follows the killing of 22-year-old Amir Locke by Minneapolis police officers last week.

“This is the very least we can do in response to last week’s tragic loss of life,” said Rep. Athena Hollins. “It has become clear that no-knock warrants needlessly escalate the dangers inherent in police work with people of color disproportionately paying the price. The Fourth Amendment guarantees us the right to be secure in our houses; to not fear that the State will enter like a thief in the night. This fear should not exist in our cities and communities, let alone our own homes. After seeing interest in legislation like this from Republican leaders in the senate, we are hoping for a swift, painless standalone passage of this bill into law.”

“It took police nine seconds to take Amir’s life,” said Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL – Minneapolis). “No one should have to fear that they will be woken up to face death in their own home. The policy we’re presenting today will curtail this dangerous practice. We can begin to create a world where public safety is more than solely relying on police for every need.”

“Democrats in the Minnesota House led the effort to scrutinize the dangers of no-knock warrants last year, and we did make meaningful progress by passing into law some of the first-ever restrictions on this practice,” said Rep. Cedrick Frazier (DFL – New Hope), “It’s clear from MPD’s actions last week that we need to do more. I’m proud to stand with Rep. Athena Hollins as we work to get justice for Amir and prevent this from ever happening again.”

“House DFLers — led by the POCI Caucus — have been focused on addressing the dangers of no-knock warrants, and it’s clear that there is more work to do,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “All Minnesotans deserve to be safe. We will continue pushing for innovative reforms and proven solutions to ensure Minnesota has a public safety system that protects everyone.”

“Minnesotans expect a public safety system that keeps them safe and keeps law enforcement and elected officials accountable to the communities they serve,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Community trust in law enforcement is essential for public safety. Under the leadership of Rep. Athena Hollins, House Democrats will take action to stop dangerous no-knock warrants and protect the lives of everyone. We will continue to partner with community leaders and local officials at all levels to improve public safety in Minnesota.”

Twenty-two-year-old Amir Locke was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer the morning of Feb. 2 in the Bolero Flats apartment building in downtown Minneapolis. Rep. Hollins says her proposal would have prevented Amir Locke’s death. The law would require a higher burden of proof on the judge when issuing a warrant; require proof that using a standard warrant would endanger a life; and allow the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board to suspend the license of officers who knowingly participate in the practice when not legally deemed an exception to this ban.