It is being considered by the Biden administration whether to broaden a policy that restricts the use of “no-knock” warrants by certain federal agents.
Unknown to homeowners, a “no-knock warrant,” as the name implies, is an order from a judge allowing law enforcement officials with a search warrant to enter a residence without first announcing their presence.
A rare exception to the standard procedure; in most cases, the law requires that officers knock on the door and announce themselves before entering a private residence to execute a warrant.
After a local SWAT team in Minneapolis fatally shot Amir Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that President Joe Biden was considering whether to further restrict federal agents’ use of the tactic.
The Department of Justice announced in September that it would limit the use of “no-knock” warrants by federal agents in their investigations.
Psaki stated that Biden is currently considering whether or not to broaden the scope of the investigation to include other federal agencies. For example, agents and officers in the Department of Homeland Security employ this strategy.
According to the updated Justice Department policy, obtaining a no-knock warrant requires the approval of both federal prosecutors and a supervisory law enforcement agent, which is more stringent than what is permitted by law at this time.
Agents from the Justice Department, including those from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, are restricted to using a no-knock warrant only in situations where an agent
“has reasonable grounds to believe that knocking and announcing the agent’s presence would create an imminent threat of physical violence to the agent and/or another person,” according to the updated policy.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, but agents seeking a warrant in those circumstances must first obtain approval from the agency’s director, as well as the U.S. attorney or assistant attorney general, before submitting their request to a judge for consideration.
No-knock warrants are most commonly used in local law enforcement, where federal executive orders would not be applicable to the situation. It is extremely dangerous for residents because they have no way of knowing who is coming through the door.
Officers fatally shot Breonna Taylor during a “no-knock” raid on her Louisville residence. No-knock warrants have been disproportionately used against Black and brown people in recent years.
Additionally, they can be dangerous for law enforcement officers.
An officer can be seen kicking the couch where Locke’s family claims he was sleeping in the most recent incident, which was captured on bodycam video by police. Locke can be seen wrapped in a blanket, beginning to move, and holding a pistol in his hand just before an officer fires his weapon, according to the video.
Locke’s parents, Andre Locke and Karen Wells claim their son was “executed” after he was roused from a deep sleep and reached for a legal firearm to defend himself after being startled from his sleep. It has been demanded by the family and civil rights activists that the interim police chief be fired.
“The tragic death of Amir Locke” was mourned by the administration, according to Psaki, who added that the White House had been in contact with civil rights organizations as well as law enforcement agencies about the need to reform the policies.
According to her, “there’s a lot of agreement on that,” in order to keep both citizens and law enforcement officers safe.