WASHINGTON D.C., DC — The death of a young man in Minneapolis has spurred a bill seeking to restrict the use of no-knock warrants from coast to coast.
On Tuesday Rep. Ilhan Omar introduced the Amir Locke End Deadly No-Knock Warrants Act, which bans quick-knock warrants, all nighttime warrants, as well as the use of flash-bang stun grenades, other explosive devices, chemical weapons or any military-grade firearms.
The bill also calls for establishing strict limitations on the use of no-knock warrants in drug-related investigations.
"Far too often, no-knock warrants and raids have severe and deadly consequences, resulting in property damage, trauma, and death,” Rep. Omar said in a released statement. “It is unconscionable that no-knock warrants continue to be in effect with little to no restrictions, regulations, and regard for the impact on lives. These preventable tragedies result in mistrust and leave behind deep wounds for families and communities that have a long history of aggressive over-policing."
Omar's legislation is named after Amir Locke, the 22-year-old who was fatally shot by a Minneapolis SWAT officer during the execution of a no-knock warrant tied to a St. Paul murder investigation. Locke was sleeping on his cousin's couch, in possession of a gun he was permitted to carry at the time of the shooting. His name was not listed on the warrant.
“While the Amir Locke End Deadly No-Knock Warrants Act is not a complete ban, we support all efforts to restrict this dangerous and deadly practice to save even one other innocent life, and to hold law enforcement accountable when the service of warrants goes terribly wrong," said Locke's parents, Karen Wells and Andre Locke.
Locke's family members are pushing legislation at both the federal and local level that bans search warrants that allow officers to enter a home unannounced. Their attorney Ben Crump commended Rep. Omar for taking what he called "a step forward."
“We join the Locke family in applauding U.S. Rep. 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 directly led to the deaths of Amir Locke, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black and Brown people throughout the country for the past several decades," said Crump in a released statement. "While the bill is not a complete ban on no-knock warrants, which is the ultimate goal, it is a significant step forward. We implore other members of Congress to champion this life-saving cause and pass this legislation to protect the lives and safety of those they swore an oath to serve.”
Rep. Omar's legislation is co-sponsored by more than two dozen additional U.S. lawmakers.
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