As confusion surrounds Minneapolis policy, groups renew push for ‘no-knock’ ban

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey attempted to clear up the confusion Monday about what he has previously described as a ban on “no-knock warrants,” less than a week after one led to the shooting death of Amir Locke.

Frey now admits there was never such a ban.

“I own that,” he told the Minneapolis Policy and Government Oversight Committee.

Back in November 2020, Frey enacted a ban on “unannounced entries,” which required officers to announce their presence during a search warrant. But even then officers were still permitted to carry out no-knock warrants.

On Monday, Frey blamed language that “became more casual” at times leading to statements that were on his campaign website that listed a ban of no-knock warrants as a “top achievement.”

“I believe my language in what we were saying honored the spirit of this policy change but there were instances where it did not,” he said.

RELATED: Minneapolis City Council debates ‘no-knock’ search warrant policy

The mayor appeared before the committee on Monday along with representatives from Knock First Minnesota — a community justice project at the University of St. Thomas that was launched after the 2020 raid that killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.

“When we started looking at Minnesota, there was absolutely nothing on the books,” said Sarah Murtada, one of the leaders in the student-run group.

For the last two years, the group has been pushing policymakers at the local and state level to outright ban no-knock warrants.

Among the changes they propose is forcing officers to knock, announce and wait at least 30 seconds for someone to come to the door.

“A lot of Americans are gun owners,” Murtada said. “They have a Second Amendment right to own guns — and so they hear someone in their home, and a lot of the time they even use those guns for self-protection, not realizing that it’s the police in their home.”

This fight for change hits a little too close to home for Murtada, who lives in Bolero Flats, the same building where an MPD officer shot and killed Amir Locke.

“It made it a lot more personal,” she said. “But, you know, I kind of feel like it was only a matter of time.”

On Tuesday, DFL lawmakers are expected to announce a proposed ban on no-knock warrants at the state level.

In a sign that the issue has at least some bipartisan support, almost all the Republican candidates for governor have also announced that they believe the Legislature needs to take another look at the law but stopped short of supporting an outright ban.