After a video of officers shooting a Black man after storming into his apartment while executing a no-knock warrant was made public last week, Minneapolis police have come under fire. The 22-year-parents old’s claim he was “executed” while struggling to defend himself after being jolted awake.
According to police, the individual was shot in self-defense after pointing a gun at an officer, probably with the intent to fire and kill.
After a SWAT squad barged into Amir Rahkare Locke’s downtown apartment as part of a homicide investigation on Wednesday, Feb. 2, he was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the officers were permitted to enter the property after acquiring a no-knock warrant for three different units at the Balero Flats apartment building. Locke was not identified on the warrant, nor was he mentioned as a suspect in the inquiry. He was spending the night at a relative’s apartment.
Officer Mark Hanneman is accused of shooting Locke after he allegedly pointed a gun at an officer. However, video from one officer’s bodycam shows a blanket-wrapped shape fighting to rise from a sleeping position on a couch after being startled by the SWAT team invading the living room early Wednesday morning.
Locke was also licensed to carry a handgun and had no criminal history in Minnesota, according to his relatives.
The video is less than a minute long, but it rapidly drew analogies to the shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police in 2020.
At 6:48 a.m., members of the SWAT unit in Minneapolis unlocked the door to the apartment and entered. They make their presence known by shouting “police” and “search warrant.” This warning is given as they enter the apartments, with their weapons drawn.
Locke was shot numerous times, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, twice in the chest and once in the wrist. At the Hennepin County Medical Center, he was pronounced dead 13 minutes later.
Initially, interim MPD chief Amelia Huffman stood by her officers’ account of the morning’s events at a press conference days after the fatal shooting.
According to the local CBS network, she also stated that the cops had obtained both a knock and no-knock warrant and were asked to use their best judgment in executing them.
Nekima Levy Armstrong, an activist on the mayor’s new Community Safety Workgroup, interrupted Huffman’s statements during the news conference.
“When people voted to re-elect you, Jacob, they hoped to see a new leader… they expected a new beginning,” Levy Armstrong said of Huffman and Mayor Jacob Frey on issues of transparency. That’s why they delegated authority to you. That’s what we want to see, not whitewashing or cover-ups. Act like you want to be the chief, Amelia. Cover-up isn’t a good idea.”
Following the death of George Floyd in 2020, the city of Minneapolis announced that such unannounced raids would be limited. Frey has claimed on several instances that he has ordered that no-nock warrants be used exclusively in “exigent conditions.” Court records, according to the Star Tribune, suggest otherwise.
According to records, MPD officers have filed 13 applications for no-knock or nighttime warrants since the beginning of the year, one more than have been filed for normal search warrants. Other police agencies, such as the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, have served warrants at Minneapolis locations, but this statistic does not include them.
According to the newspaper’s inquiry, an unnamed law enforcement source claims that St. Paul police issued a routine warrant one week earlier in conjunction with the investigation that led to the raid on Locke’s residence. According to a source quoted by the Star Tribune, Minneapolis police would not help in the search until a no-knock warrant was obtained.
St. Paul police complied with the larger force, despite the fact that, according to spokesperson Steve Linders, the department had not used this form of warrant in their own city since 2016.
On Saturday, February 6, the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation released a statement about the investigation into the incident. “The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will gather the necessary data for the inquiry,” it said, adding that “no conclusions should be drawn until the investigation is complete.”
“Policing, especially with a SWAT team, is a dangerous, high-stress profession where officers are required to make split decisions in defense of themselves and other officers, especially when weapons are involved,” the union continued. When cops are confronted with substantial safety risks, they draw and use their weapons.”
“Officer Hannemen came face to face with Mr. Locke, who was armed with a handgun, and decided to use lethal force. No cop enters a dangerous situation like this intending to use force. That decision to use deadly force was not made lightly, and it will have long-term consequences for these officers, their families, and Mr. Locke’s family.”
A statement from Locke’s family was also posted.
Amir’s mother, Karen Wells, claimed she and his father, Andre Locke, had “the conversation” with her son about how to act and do “what they needed to do whenever they faced police officers” because of the racial profiling that “unarmed Black males” endure in this nation.
“My son was executed on 2/2 of 22, and now his dreams have been shattered,” Wells said of her 22-year-old son.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney, will represent the family.
The family is “simply astonished” that Amir was slain in this manner, according to Crump. “They didn’t even give him a chance,” he said, referring to the “No Knock” warrant.
He used Twitter to make the link between Locke and Taylor.
“No-knock warrants have lethal implications for innocent law-abiding Black people, as #BreonnaTaylor shown!” At 6:48 a.m., @MinneapolisPD executed a no-knock warrant, killing Amir Locke on the couch while he was wrapped in a blanket. #JusticeForAmirLocke is now our demand!!
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Rey has declared a no-knock warrant moratorium.
During this time, he is requesting that law enforcement review and revise the contentious tactic’s department policy. Rey wants the department to collaborate with two experts who worked on Breonna’s Law, Louisville’s restriction on no-knock warrants.
In a prepared statement, Frey says, “No matter what information comes to light.” “The reality that Amir Locke’s life was cut short will not change.”
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