Another week, another pointless death. This narrative is something many in America are sick of, and it has been going on for far too long. As the debate goes on about how to stop this horrible cycle of people dying way too soon, the answers begin to become harder and harder to find.
One of the more common yet underreported reasons for these deaths is the use of no-knock warrants. The murder of Amir Locke at the hands of Minneapolis PD is bringing them back into the limelight. This past Thursday, the bodycam footage was released to the public. In less than 10 seconds of their descent upon the apartment, they opened the door with a key, entered yelling “Police!! Search warrant!!” and found Locke asleep on the couch, wrapped in a blanket and holding a pistol as he sat up.
In less than a few seconds, the lead officer opened fire on Locke and killed him. Locke was struck twice in the chest and once in the wrist before falling to the ground, a position he had barely even gotten up from. The firearm he was holding was one he had purchased legally and had a license to carry. He was not a suspect identified in the knock warrant initially issued, or the no-knock warrant issued after the insistence of the SWAT team.
One of the biggest contentions of this warrant is how the warrant was delivered. In the wake of the death of George Floyd in 2020, Mayor Frey began requiring officers to announce themselves and their purpose before entering a building, and the bodycam showed that none of that took place until they entered the apartment and began shooting. This is a major sticking point that needs to be thoroughly examined.
These no-knock warrants have been issued for a wide variety of reasons in the past, and the death of Amir Locke is just another case proving why these warrants are so disastrous. They are often served early in the morning or in the middle of the night. While the goal of catching people by surprise is understandable, they lead to mass confusion and the wrong people being apprehended or assaulted for no reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
For decades, Americans have become fearful of the police. While minorities are statistically more fearful of a police encounter than whites, it comes from years of stories of things going wrong due to bad assumptions and poor evidence gathering. The introduction of a no-knock warrant makes those fears more real, and the Brianna Taylor death underscores just how misguided many of the law enforcement officers can be when executing them.
In turn, people have become much more fearful of law enforcement and how tools to assist them in doing an inherently dangerous job instead turn the fear back on to the public. These warrants are akin to the idea of letting the police search your car because you have nothing to hide; they exist only to allow law enforcement to find or manufacture evidence. As such, people find themselves with fewer reasons to trust them or the government as a whole.
The debate over these warrants will continue for eons to come unless the federal government officially puts them to rest. They stopped having a purpose years ago. If anything, they only serve to put innocent people at risk. By getting rid of them, they would take the steps to not only allow innocent people to remain safe from unnecessary harm and prosecution, but they would also get the public to slowly regain the trust in law enforcement that went away oh so long ago. Given the track record of “bad apples” in law enforcement, they need all the public trust they can get. You would think that the Dems would have already gotten rid of these warrants. Perhaps this can actually be a bipartisan push?