In raid that killed Amir Locke, Minneapolis police insisted on no knock search warrant

The SWAT raid that killed Amir Locke in Minneapolis last week was not going to be executed as a pre-dawn "no-knock" search warrant until the Minneapolis Police Department insisted, according to the St. Paul Police Department.

In raid that killed Amir Locke, Minneapolis police insisted on no knock search warrant

The SWAT raid that killed Amir Locke in Minneapolis last week was not going to be executed as a pre-dawn "no-knock" search warrant until the Minneapolis Police Department insisted, according to the St. Paul Police Department.

Locke, 22, was fatally shot by police on Feb. 2 after being awoken by officers while sleeping on a couch in an apartment belonging to a relative's girlfriend. He was not the target of an ongoing homicide investigation, according to a newly unsealed search warrant requested as part of a St. Paul Police Department homicide investigation.

St. Paul police initially requested a more typical "knock and announce" warrant per their policies, but that warrant, which was to be jointly executed with Minneapolis Police Department's SWAT team, was never executed. Instead, a separate warrant that included both nighttime service and a "no knock" was drawn up. It was approved by Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill.

Minneapolis police tightened its policies on unannounced entries in November 2020, months after George Floyd was killed by officer Derek Chauvin, but it stopped short of banning them all together. The policy requires officers to announce themselves "prior to crossing the threshold of the door into the residence or building" and to give announcements periodically throughout. 

St. Paul Police Department has not utilized the more risky "no-knock" warrant since 2016, said department spokesman Steve Linders.

"The initial search warrant is based on how we handle things," Linders said. "And then we talked to our partners, the other agency and of course, during that discussion, they make their desires clear and then we readjust."

A Minneapolis police spokesperson and attorneys representing Locke's family did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Locke's cousin, Mekhi Speed, lived in the same Minneapolis apartment building and has been arrested and charged by prosecutors with two counts of murder in the Jan 10. fatal shooting of Otis Rodney Elder, 38. 

The suspects were attempting to rob Elder when he was shot inside his vehicle, according to police.  

Elder's partner, Princess Evans, 27, said he was “targeted” and his death has been “swept under the rug” amid the attention on Locke’s killing. Evans said Elder was a devoted father of four and had recently started his own business.

“I’m upset with the justice system because they failed everybody,” she said. “There’s two broken families right now.”

Speed, 17, is being held in Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center. The state asked the court for an order enabling it to prosecute the 17-year-old as an adult because “retaining the proceeding in juvenile court does not serve public safety.” Under Minnesota law, it's presumed a child will face trial as an adult if they are 16 or older and the alleged crime would result in a prison sentence or was a felony involving a firearm.

The search warrant, which was looking for property related to the homicide investigation, makes no mention of Locke. His family said he had no criminal record and legally possessed a gun, which police say he pointed in their direction during the raid.