BCA report: 179 no-knock warrants issued in Minnesota in 2022

BCA report: 179 no-knock warrants issued in Minnesota in 2022

BCA report: 179 no-knock warrants issued in Minnesota in 2022

The state’s first full-year no-knock warrant report has been released.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) released the 2022 report on Friday, marking the department’s first no-knock warrant report with a full year of data.

The BCA’s first-ever no-knock warrant report was issued in December but contained only data from the final few months of 2021 because that’s when the state law requiring annual no-knock warrant reports went into effect.

According to the latest report, 185 no-knock warrants were requested in Minnesota in 2022 and all but six were granted. However, only 158 of those were then executed, and only 63 were executed with a no-knock entry.

All but 10 of the executed warrants led police to the evidence they were looking for, the BCA’s report states. The agency notes that one warrant was excluded from the report because it was a U.S. Marshals Service warrant in Hennepin County and the state doesn’t have information about the warrant from federal officials.

The report already appears to show a decline in the use of no-knock warrants last year, as 132 warrants were requested and 129 issued in just the final four months of 2021.

Data shows the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office used no-knock warrants much more than any other agency in the state, accounting for 76 of the requests and 75 of those granted.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, “Our office completes an application for a no-knock warrant when we are requesting to utilize K9 sniffs, ion scans, or vehicle tracking technology as we are not technically ‘knocking and announcing’ when executing those warrants.”

The report shows 64 of the requested no-knock warrants were executed in Hennepin County. 14 were served with a no-knock entry, while three were executed with a ‘knock and announce’ entry. The remaining 47 warrants were executed as non-entry into a premise, which the Sheriff’s Office explained includes “K9 sniff, ion scan, or vehicle tracking technology.”

A spokesperson for the agency said, “We do not take the decision to request a no-knock warrant lightly. Multiple layers of review and approval are required prior to requesting no-knock search warrants. For example, since February 2022, all 112 warrants executed by our Emergency Services Unit have been knock and announce.  Our Office will continue to examine and review our practices and procedures on a case-by-case basis to ensure no-knock warrants are requested only when necessary.”

The only other agencies that requested and received at least 10 no-knock warrants last year were:

  • Brooklyn Park Police — 14 requested, 10 issued, 9 executed.
  • Minneapolis Police — 11 requested and issued, 9 executed.
  • St. Cloud Police — 11 requested, issued and executed.

The report also notes that 102 of the executed warrants were done so by a task force, with the Hennepin County Violent Offender Task Force executing 31 and the county’s West Metro Drug Task Force handling another 25.

A total of four people listed as the subjects of no-knock warrants were hurt while law enforcement executed those warrants last year. None of them died, according to the report.

A total of nine people who were not the subjects of no-knock warrants were injured while law enforcement executed those warrants last year, which the report said includes law enforcement officers. One person was killed.

No-knock warrants came under heavy scrutiny after the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2020, then again in early 2022 when Amir Locke was killed during a police raid in Minneapolis.

Locke’s death and the renewed outrage over the use of no-knock warrants help spur legislation at the Minnesota Capitol this year to significantly restrict how the warrants can be used. That legislation was approved and just went into effect on July 1.

His father, Andre Locke Sr., testified at the Capitol in support of a no-knock warrant ban.

He said in a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Friday that the data from Minneapolis is “… deeply troubling and shows precisely what our family has said over and over, that the use of No-Knocks is too high and extremely dangerous. One of those No-Knock requests in 2022 was the one that killed my son,  Amir. It is painful to see this report. I can’t say enough that city leaders and law enforcement need to ensure innocent people are not harmed by these warrants and ensure that change is made once and for all to save lives.”

Under the new law, no-knock warrants can only be issued if law enforcement can’t wait to search an area until it’s unoccupied and the person or people inside pose an immediate threat of injury or death to officers if law enforcement announced their presence before entering.

“I predict there will be even fewer next year,” said Jeff Potts, the executive director of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association. “There’s a very narrow set of circumstances a no-knock warrant can be used moving forward.”

According to Potts, law enforcement agencies have already been turning to technology instead of no-knock warrants.

“When they serve the warrant, they actually make some announcements on a loudspeaker and are instructing the occupants to come out and if that works and it’s successful, they don’t have to make that dynamic entry into the residence,” said Potts. “The trend in law enforcement has definitely been to move away from no-knock warrants in many circumstances.”

Communities United Against Police Brutality President Michelle Gross hopes to see a decline in the use of no-knock warrants.

“These warrants are exceedingly dangerous,” said Gross. “It’s not just the people in the household that get injured, it’s law enforcement officers and police dogs. It’s a dangerous practice across the board.”

She also raised concerns about racial disparities. The data shows about 50% of the subjects of the warrants were Black while about 30% of the subjects were white, according to the report.

“One of the things we have to recognize is the way race impacts who is affected by these warrants,” said Gross.

Click here to see the BCA’s full 2022 report.