Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech is tonight. Consistent with the custom of recent years, he no doubt will acknowledge the presence of individuals in the crowd and use their stories to reinforce his policy objectives. I was shocked to learn that among those who will be present tonight are the parents of Amir Locke, as guests of Ilhan Omar.
The background on Locke’s case, briefly: four men were wanted for a murder committed in the course of a carjacking. One of the four was captured. The other three were still at large, and had continued carjacking vehicles. Police traced the men to an apartment building where they were “crashing” unofficially in three different apartments. Because the men were known to be armed and dangerous, the Minneapolis police obtained a no-knock warrant covering the multiple apartments. (The warrant was issued by the same judge who presided over the trial of Derek Chauvin.)
When police executed the search of one of the apartments, they announced themselves and immediately encountered Amir Locke lying on a couch. He made eye contact with one of the officers and dived under a blanket. Some seconds went by as the officers yelled at him to show his hands. Instead, he emerged with a gun in his hand, pointed at one of the officers. They shot him.
My colleague David Zimmer tells the story at the American Experiment web site:
Representative Ilhan Omar is preparing to introduce federal legislation to restrict the use of “no knock” warrants, and in doing so has falsely labeled the 2022 death of Amir Locke as a “murder” by the police (despite the Minnesota Attorney General and Hennepin County Attorney issuing a joint report 10 months ago detailing Locke’s death a justified use of deadly force by police).
Locke’s parents will be attending the State of the Union Address as guests of Rep. Omar and will likely be recognized by President Biden. They have previously characterized their son’s death as an “assassination” by police. Look for the President to add to the narrative that the use of “no-knock” entries must be banned.
I don’t know whether Biden will talk about the Locke case tonight. If he does, what he says about the case will be a lie. And in any event, Ilhan Omar is using the case, and Locke’s parents as props, to advance a bad policy idea based on fabrications.
Should no-knock warrants be abolished? Probably the best-informed opinion you are likely to read is David Zimmer’s. He speaks from experience:
I was a tactical officer for 10 years and a tactical commander for four years. In those 14 years, I participated in several hundred “no-knock” entries and am confident that the technique prevented more violence than it created.
During my time as a tactical officer, we were shot at three times, and each time was the result of something alerting the suspect to our presence before entry. There is no doubt in my mind that knocking and announcing each of the several hundred warrants I’ve been involved in would have increased the number of violent encounters, and likely ended in someone’s death.
My tactical team had a rigorous vetting process before we conducted a search warrant entry. It involved the use of physical surveillance and scouting of the residence, the application of a threat assessment tool, and an internal approval process that went up four levels of supervision before approval. We also loudly announced our presence just before breaching the door, and an announcement on a public address speaker from a squad was repeatedly made so everyone in the residence and the neighborhood knew the police were there. In over 40 years of service, the tactical team I was associated with has never once killed or injured anyone in a shooting incident. We completed the mission safely, for all involved.
David’s post consists largely of background on no knock raids and data on their use and effectiveness. I commend it to your attention. And I encourage you to watch for any falsehoods Biden may spin on this topic tonight.