The Twin Cities have been rocked with yet another unnecessary police brutality death.
A knock-and-announce warrant was issued to the St. Paul P.D. as part of a homicide investigation. The Minneapolis P.D. asked them to change it to a no-knock warrant for their participation. That was signed-off on by Judge Peter Cahill to “increase officer safety and decrease risk to suspects and residents.” Within 9 seconds of this M.P.D. S.W.A.T. raid beginning Officer Mark Hanneman had shot 22 yr old Amir Locke three times, killing him. Mr. Locke was not a suspect, not a criminal, nor was he named on any warrant. He was a legal gun owner, had a carry permit, and was asleep on a friend’s couch. The apartment of the incident belongs to the girlfriend of the brother of 17 yr old Mehki Speed, who was the named suspect on the original warrant, wanted for a recent homicide in St. Paul that happened during a “marijuana deal gone wrong”. Mr. Speed was apparently not in the building at the time, but was found and arrested in Winona, MN four days later without incident. Ofcr. Hanneman was put on paid administrative leave.
By the numbers, the MPD used no-knocks 194 times in 2019 and 171 times in 2020. At the end of 2020, Mayor Jacob Frey announced an end to the practice of police entering unannounced no matter what type of warrant. In 2021 the MPD still used no-knocks 78 times, as the Mayor touted that he had banned them in his 2021 re-election campaign. There were voluminous exceptions to his ‘ban on no-knock’ 2020 policy, just like there are in his new ‘moratorium on no-knock’ 2022 policy. Jacob Frey admitted to being misleading about no-knocks, saying his “language became more casual and hasn’t reflected the necessary precision or nuance of the policy.”
By comparison, SPPD has used zero no-knocks in the last five years. Both cities set, or nearly set, homicide records in 2021. The SPPD ended up making arrests in 91% of those cases. The MPD in 37% of theirs.
“We expect further transparency and full accountability for the killing of Mr. Locke.” said LPMN Chair Chris Holbrook, in a press release (picked up by the Star Tribune).
What other Libertarians have said:
“The cops killed an innocent person.” -Washington based libertarian activist Anthony Welti, who worked in Minneapolis last year on the Nate ‘Honey Badger’ Atkins campaign;
“Those cops murdered Amir Locke. Every single one of them should be prosecuted.” -Dave Smith, libertarian comic and podcaster;
“It is time for us to end no-knock raids, qualified immunity, and the ‘thin blue line’ culture of police lawlessness.” -2020 LP VP Nominee Spike Cohen, who has stumped in MN multiple times;
“Minneapolis finally suspended no-knock warrants, unfortunately, this only came after the needless death of Amir Locke. Join me in writing to your local officials and in signing local petitions to END NO-KNOCK WARRANTS.” -2020 LP Presidential Nominee Jo Jorgensen, who has campaigned in MN multiple times.
We hope you get involved in the fight. Contact your local officials to ban no-knock. Sign petitions calling for the end of qualified immunity. Join a peaceful protest demanding criminal justice reform. Run for office to create policy. Join us in the LPMN.
Come to the 2022 LPMN State Convention on April 2 in Bloomington and meet us. All of the Libertarians quoted above will be speaking. There is also a scheduled break-out session with the Minnesota Justice Coalition.
This is an excellent time to get involved. Stand up.