No-knock warrants under scrutiny again

Police Shooting Minneapolis
Posted at 7:51 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 19:51:22-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — The use of no-knock warrants is once again under scrutiny. This time because of a situation in Minnesota.

On Wednesday, 22-year-old Amir Locke was shot and killed after Minneapolis Police used a no-knock warrant to enter the apartment he was staying in. Locke was not named a suspect in the warrant, nor was he a resident of the apartment.

His family and community have expressed outrage over the situation.

"How dare you take my son from me and his mother," said Amir's father, Andre Locke, to a crowd.

Those words echo the sentiment, Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mom, has expressed over and over again.

Taylor was killed during a police raid in 2020. Louisville Police obtained a no-knock search warrant to enter her apartment.

Since Taylor's death, states across the country have re-examined their policies for the controversial warrants. Some have chosen to enact Breonna's Law - which bans no-knock warrants. But Kentucky - Taylor's home state - has not.

Breonna's Law for Kentucky was filed in the 2021 legislative session. However, it didn't get very far.

Instead, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 4 that year. It's a law that puts restrictions on how and when no-knock warrants can be used, but it does not outlaw them.

Lawmakers argued that they didn't want to get rid of a tool that could benefit police in emergency situations.

"If there is a terrorist situation - where there was something similar to this a few years ago in Bowling Green - do you really want to knock on the door?" asked Senate President Robert Stivers at the time.

But since Locke's death, some people are wondering if Kentucky has done enough.

"Kentucky took a great first step," said Carmen Mitchell, a policy analyst with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

Mitchell, who focuses on criminal justice policies and has analyzed the use of forced police entries, argues that Kentucky should do more.

"There is still a long way to go to protect communities from violent practices from police," said Mitchell. "The next step really should be a ban - outright - on the practice of all types of forced entry from police raids into people's homes."