Rep. Ilhan Omar introduces bill named after Amir Locke to limit no-knock warrants

Locke, 22, was shot in Minneapolis.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., introduced a bill on Tuesday calling for strict limitations on no-knock warrants in drug investigations.

The bill, named after Amir Locke, would also ban ‘quick’ warrants, night warrants and the use of explosive devices, chemical weapons and military-grade firearms during the execution mandates.

Locke, a black Minnesota native, was 22 when he was shot dead by Minneapolis SWAT officer Mark Hanneman during the early morning execution of a no-hit search warrant on Feb. 2.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled the death of Locke, who was not named on the warrant, a homicide.

Hanneman has not been charged with any crime and is currently on paid administrative leave while the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigates the shooting.

The outcry to ban no-knock warrants grew again after Locke’s death, leading to protests reminiscent of those immediately following the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in 2020. While Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, declared a moratorium on seeking and executing no-knock warrants in the city, concerned citizens and lawmakers demanded a more permanent solution.

Neka Gray, Locke’s aunt, called for an end to no-knock warrants when a coalition of black women and mothers gathered at Minneapolis City Hall to demand justice for Locke .

“Unfortunately, Amir won’t benefit. But the next person will,” Gray said. “And so what we’re asking is that this no-knock warrant, this policy that’s been put in place where it only affects people who look like me, people who look like Amir, people who look like a lot of the people standing behind me, we’re just asking for that to change.”

Omar discussed his bill during a press call on Tuesday.

“The use of no-knock warrants has a history deeply rooted in division, racism and the criminalization of black and brown people,” she said. “This is yet another instance of Minneapolis police using tactics that deny human dignity,” she added, referring to the events leading up to Locke’s death.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden supports an end to no-knock warrants during a press briefing last month following Locke’s death.

“We have engaged, as you know, with civil rights groups, a number of law enforcement groups. All agree on the need to reform the use of prohibition warrants hitting,” she said.

Psaki also spoke about a Department of Justice policy href=” entries” target=”_blank”>announced by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in September that regulates the federal use of chokeholds, carotid restraints, and no-knock warrants.

The policy states that “Federal agents are generally required to ‘knock and announce’ their identity, authority and purpose, and to demand entry before entry is made to execute a warrant at a dwelling. private” before entering after a “reasonable time”. Exceptions can be made “in the most compelling circumstances”.

Biden briefly mentioned the Justice Department’s State of the Union policy, before calling for defunding the police and drawing applause.

The Locke family’s legal team released a statement Tuesday in response to the bill:

“We join the Locke family in applauding U.S. Representative Omar for introducing this critically important bill. There is no doubt that no-knock warrants are a tragic and devastating failure of policy – a policy that has directly led to the deaths of Amir Locke, Breonna Taylor and countless other black and brown people across the country over the past decades.”

The statement said that while the “ultimate goal” is a ban on all no-knock warrants, “it is a significant step forward.”

“We implore fellow members of Congress to champion this vital cause and pass this legislation to protect the lives and safety of those they are sworn to serve,” he said.

Sejal Govindarao of ABC News contributed to this report.

ABC News

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