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Frey Declares Moratorium on Warrants He Already Said He Banned

Plus more about the response to the police killing of Amir Locke in today's Flyover.

A memorial for Amir Locke.
Chad Davis via Flickr

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily 1 p.m.(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

When Is a No-Knock Warrant Not a No-Knock Warrant?

Jacob Frey is a perfectionist. Although the 2021 election has long since passed, his team is still fine-tuning his election materials. For instance, you may have heard last year that Frey “banned no-knock warrants.” You may have heard that from Frey himself—it was among the police reforms he consistently touted. But that claim, which surfaced in people’s memories after a SWAT team with a no-knock warrant killed Amir Locke on Wednesday, has been removed from Frey’s campaign website. Frey’s reps told WCCO that by “no-knock” he meant “unannounced entry” and they just wanted to clarify. Just hadn’t thought much about that before, I guess. The Strib reports that 13 of these unbanned no knock warrants were requested and issued this year alone. Oh, and they can still be issued, but “there must be an imminent threat of harm to an individual or the public and then the warrant must be approved by the Chief.” So… not really a moratorium then. (Update: Frey is now bravely owning the fact “language became more casual, including my own, which did not reflect the necessary precision or nuance.”)

Ready for Public Safety Amendment Round Two—or Is That Three?

While the police killing of Amir Locke has, like the many previous Minneapolis police killings of Black men, spurred calls for reform of the MPD, another possibility is to just, you know, get rid of it. That may be on the mind of first-term Ward 1 council member Elliott Payne, who indicated on Twitter that he’s ready to bring up the matter of creating a public safety department at the next council meeting on February 10. 

The details here are unclear, but if another charter amendment is in the works, time is of the essence. As Josh Martin notes here, the council would have to propose something in March to get it past the charter commission review in time, and the deadline for a petition-sparked ballot question is May.

A Weekend of Outrage and Mourning

“I feel vulnerable, I feel taken advantage of and disrespected.” Those are the words of Andre Locke, the father of the 22-year-old man killed by police in a SWAT raid last week. He spoke at a rally held, along with a march, in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday, directing this question at the police: “How dare you take my son from me and his mother?” There was also righteous anger in print, with a passionate editorial from MinnPost managing editor Harry Colbert from the viewpoint of a gun-owning Black man, while Star Tribune columnist Myron Medcalf wrote, “If it happens to me, what keeps happening to us in Minnesota, please tell my story.” The weekend culminated in a caravan driving out the Cedar-Isles-Dean neighborhood to the house where protesters believe interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman lives. “We’re asking for her job,” said activist Toussaint Morrison, “because it seems like the only time they pay attention is when it affects their jobs or their money. But we pull up when it affects our lives.” If they found the right house, that seems like a swanky pad (in a ritzy neighborhood) for a cop.

SWAT Team, New Training Director, Have Troubling Records

The apples are bad again. Kristopher Dauble and Nathan Sundberg, two members of the SWAT team that burst in on Amir Locke, are both named in the Jaleel Stallings lawsuit, the Minnesota Reformer reports. Stallings was the Minnesota man who was arrested during the George Floyd protests for firing back in self-defense at police who hadn’t identified themselves and shot at him. Meanwhile, Unicorn Riot reports that the actual shooter, Officer Mark Hanneman, was involved in the state Drug Recognition Evaluator training program, which authorized outstate cops to hand out drugs to protesters and the unhoused in downtown Minneapolis. (Once publicized, the program was discontinued in Minnesota.) And the Star Tribune notes that “several officers with blemished records…were recently elevated to leadership positions” by interim Police Chief Huffman. Among these is David Garman, who was fired in 2009 (though later reinstated) for his role in the violent and corrupt Metro Gang Strike Force, a unit notorious for mistreating people of color and holding on to confiscated property for personal use.