Requirements for a No-Knock Search Warrant in Minnesota
In the early morning hours of Wednesday February 2nd Minneapolis police officers using a no-knock search warrant entered the residence of Amir Locke. Locke, a black man -- apparently asleep and shown to be holding a gun upon awakening -- was shot and killed.
I talked with Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall on WJON today. She says there are specific requirements the police must go through to obtain a no-knock search warrant. Those requirements are:
All documentation and materials the issuing court requires;
The information specified and a sworn affidavit;
Why peace officers are seeking the use of a no-knock entry and are unable to detain the suspect or search the residence through the use of a knock and announce warrant;
What investigative activities have taken place to support issuance of the no-knock search warrant, or why no investigative activity is needed or able to be performed;
Whether the warrant can be effectively executed during daylight hours;
A no-knock search warrant may be served only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. unless the court determines on the basis of facts state in the affidavits that a nighttime search outside those hours is necessary to prevent the loss, destruction, or removal of the objects of the search or to protect the searchers or the public. The nighttime search warrant is called a "night cap".
Janelle Kendall says there are many layers the police must go through to obtain a no-knock, "night cap" search warrant. She says there has be a whole bunch of reasons put before a judge before they will approve this type of thing. Kendall says this warrant was approved in both Ramsey and Hennepin counties. She says no-knock search warrants are not common and have never been common. Kendall says most of these end in the arrest of an individual without incident. She says many of these have happened in Stearns County.
Kendall says a no-knock search warrant is obtained by officers where there is concern about safety for the officers if they were to knock. She says police must prove that this is a violent person to obtain this type of search warrant. Kendall says the details of why the no-knock search warrant was obtained in district court is in an affidavit but not available in the recent Minneapolis case because it's an active investigation.
If you'd like to listen to my conference with Janell Kendall it is available below.