Bodycam footage captures the moments leading up to Amir Locke's death during a raid conducting by Minnesota police officers.

There's a growing consensus in law enforcement over no-knock warrants: The risks outweigh the rewards

Updated 11:03 AM ET, Sat February 12, 2022

(CNN)The shooting death of Amir Locke by a Minneapolis SWAT officer serving a no-knock warrant during a homicide investigation last week has prompted calls for an end to the practice of serving high-risk warrants on homes without giving occupants a chance to open the door.

There's growing consensus among policing leaders that the risks of the tactic, which came into vogue during the height of the drug wars in the 1990s and into the 2000s, far outweigh any potential rewards.
"You have to go back years to understand why we have no knocks," said Thor Eells, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association. "They were developed as a tool, through courts, for the preservation of evidence ... primarily crack cocaine. That's no longer the case, and hasn't been for at least ten years. (We)'ve been strongly teaching, advocating, for other alternatives."
Other options taught are designed for officers to avoid the so-called 'fatal funnel' created by SWAT teams moving through a doorway to confront a potentially armed suspect -- and most of those options have officers using time, distance, cover, and concealment to take custody of either evidence or a wanted person while lessening the risk of confrontation.
High-profile shootings by police officers over the last few years, the shooting of officers during execution of warrants, and the ubiquity of video footage showing just how risky and dangerous these raids are, have all contributed to police departments moving away from no-knock warrants.
Officers had warrants to search three apartments and arrest Locke's cousin in connection with an early January homicide in St. Paul. When the execution of one of those warrants ended in Locke's death, and police released video showing the speed at which the shooting unfolded, there were renewed calls for an end to no-knock warrant service in a city that announced an overhaul to the practice 14 months ago.

'Just quit doing it'

A demonstrator holds a photo of Amir Locke during a rally February 5 in Minneapolis.