The 22-year-old Locke was shot three times within 10 seconds of the SWAT team storming the residence.
Let me start this by stating that I am not a fan of no-knock warrants; the very idea strikes me as grossly unjust and in direct violation of a foundational element of American jurisprudence that rightly considers it better that 10/100 guilty men go free than that one innocent man should suffer.
In theory, our legal system is designed to protect the innocent at all costs, including the occasional guilty person walking free when the burden of proof is not convincingly presented. Sir William Blackstone famously argued that it is “better that ten guilty men go free than that one innocent man should suffer,” and this premise was later iterated by Benjamin Franklin in 1785, with a significant change to emphasize the underlying principle of the Blackstone Formulation: “it is better one hundred guilty persons should escape than that one innocent person should suffer.”
No-knock warrants are, to my mind, an unacceptable inversion of that core principle of American justice because they carry with them the assumption that everyone in the warranted dwelling/site is not only a potential and immediate lethal threat to the invading SWAT team but also is a criminal, has criminal intent, or is otherwise unworthy of basic legal rights. Due process, in other words, is thrown out the window with these no-knock warrants.
This is wrong, and there is no justification whatsoever in my mind for storming a residence with a SWAT team whose members are necessarily on high alert and combat-ready because they are storming a dwelling with a SWAT team.
I don’t care if they are looking for Jack the Ripper or the next jihadi intent on causing America harm. No-knock warrants are an inexcusable use of force that unnecessarily places everyone involved at risk of serious injury or death–including innocents who may be in the dwelling, those who aren’t even the target of the warrant, or, as too often happens, the team has the wrong address—and as such no-knock warrants have no place in a free and civil society.
The recent police shooting death of Amir Locke in Minneapolis during the execution of a no-knock warrant is a case in point. It’s worth noting that police had both a warrant and a no-knock warrant (related to a homicide investigation that itself was unrelated to Locke) but rejected executing the regular warrant.
Things to note: Locke was not named in the warrants nor was he reportedly a suspect or even a person of interest in the homicide investigation that served as grounds for the warrants. Further, he was in legal possession of a firearm for which he had a concealed carry permit that he reportedly obtained because as a Door Dash delivery driver he feared carjackings.
The 22-year-old Locke was shot three times within 10-14 seconds of the SWAT team storming the residence.
Here’s the police bodycam footage:
Dramatic bodycam video captured the moment a Minneapolis police SWAT team member fatally shot a 22-year-old armed black man during a no-knock-warrant raid on his apartment.
In the clip released by police Thursday, cops are seen turning a key to enter a seventh-floor apartment on South Marquette Avenue at 6:48 a.m. Wednesday while serving a warrant in connection with a homicide probe out of St. Paul, the Star Tribune reported.
The officers are seen barging inside the unit, yelling, “Police search warrant! … Get on the f—- ground!” One SWAT team member is heard yelling, “Hands! Hands! Hands!”
The cops move toward a couch where the man, Amir Locke, is seen covered in a blanket as he tries to stand up while holding a firearm in his right hand. Three gunshots are then heard from one of the officers.
In a city still reeling from the police killing of George Floyd, the shooting is likely to spark new questions about the use of no-knock warrants — particularly since Locke was not the subject of the warrant, according to the paper.
Yes, Locke was reaching for and managed to grab his legally-owned and -permitted firearm, but he was asleep when the unit swarmed into the dwelling, and who the heck—groggy from sleep and thus not grasping who these people are—wouldn’t automatically reach for their legal firearm in that situation?
And this is yet another problem with no-knock warrants, they are often executed in the wee/pre-dawn hours of the morning specifically in order to catch victims while they are asleep. The police in this case created the situation in which the sleeping Locke groggily reached for his legal firearm . . . and then shot him dead. I have a problem with that. And frankly, I’d have a problem with that if he were the subject of the warrant and/or its underlying homicide investigation.
Here’s the presser featuring the mayor and chief of police:
Over at Reason, Billy Binion discusses why he thinks “Amir Locke’s Death Should Incense Anyone Who Cares About Gun Rights.”
An officer with the Minneapolis Police Department SWAT team shot and killed a 22-year-old man early Wednesday morning during the execution of a no-knock raid, reinvigorating debate around a law-enforcement tactic that many say is ripe for abuse.
The victim, Amir Locke, who appeared to be asleep on the couch that morning, was not named on that warrant. In a matter of about three seconds, body camera footage shows the man—buried under a thick white blanket—stirring to the sound of the cops’ entry with his hand on the barrel of a firearm. Officer Mark Hanneman then shoots him three times.
Interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman initially said that Hanneman shot Locke because Locke pointed his gun “in the direction of officers.” But the footage released by the government appeared to contradict that: Locke’s gun was pointed to the side, and his hand was on the barrel of the weapon, not the trigger.
He owned the gun legally and had a concealed carry permit, according to his family’s legal representation. “My son was executed…and now his dreams have been destroyed,” said Locke’s mother, Karen Wells, at a press conference Friday. “They didn’t even give him a chance,” echoed attorney Ben Crump.
. . . . Locke’s scenario should bother just about anyone who supports the right to carry a firearm. The Second Amendment does not discriminate, nor does it evaporate as soon as the government enters the premises, particularly when considering that the Founding impetus behind it was to protect against a tyrannical state.
Everything about this shooting needs to be investigated thoroughly and, if found to be applicable, charges pursued against the officer/s involved. I don’t say this lightly and am certainly not about to join a BLM march or burn my thin blue line American flag, but the police shooting death of Amir Locke is, to my mind, a prime example of why no-knock warrants should be abolished throughout this country.DONATE
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