Minnesota cop will NOT be charged for shooting black man Amir Locke dead during no-knock warrant as SWAT team searched for his cousin wanted on murder charges
Minneapolis Police Officer Mark Hanneman will not face charges for killing Amir Locke after a SWAT team stormed his cousin’s home on a no-knock warrant
Amir Locke who was black, was in the apt when authorities entered it on February 2 without knocking as they searched for his cousin on Feb, 2
Locke, 22, who was not wanted by cops, was asleep on his cousin’s couch when police entered the home
They entered without knocking as part of an investigation into a homicide in neighboring St. Paul
Attorney General Keith Ellison, who reviewed the case, said Hanneman was justified in firing his weapon
‘After a thorough review of all available evidence, however, there is insufficient admissible evidence to file criminal charges in this case,’ Ellison said
The target of the raid Locke’s 17-year-old cousin, Mekhi Camden Speed, was named and has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the killing of Otis Elder
Elder, 38, was found shot and laying in the street in what police believe was an apparent robbery
A Minnesota police officer will not face charges for shooting and killing Amir Locke while executing an early morning no-knock search warrant. *
Locke, 22, who was black, was staying on a couch in the apartment when authorities entered it on February 2 without knocking as they searched for his cousin, who was wanted over a homicide in neighboring St. Paul.
Locke, who was not named in the warrant, woke up during the raid and reached for his legally-held gun, only to be shot dead by officers as they saw him draw the weapon.
Family members called his killing an ‘execution,’ noting the video shows an officer kicking the sofa. They said Locke was startled and disoriented. They have also denied Locke was shot after he pointed his gun at officers. Body camera footage shows Locke holding a gun before he was shot, but it is unclear from the video if he pointed it at officers.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office reviewed the case, said prosecutors determined Officer Mark Hanneman was justified in firing his weapon.
‘After a thorough review of all available evidence, however, there is insufficient admissible evidence to file criminal charges in this case,’ the AG said. ‘Specifically, the State would be unable to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements of Minnesota’s use-of-deadly-force statute that authorizes the use of force by Officer Hanneman.
‘Nor would the State be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a criminal charge against any other officer involved in the decision-making that led to the death of Amir Locke,’ Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman said in a joint statement.
However, Ellison and Freeman did say that Locke’s ‘life matter’ and that he ‘should be alive today.’
‘His death is a tragedy,’ they said in a statement.
The police department hired Hanneman in 2015. City records show there were three complaints made about him and that all were closed without him being disciplined, but they give no details. Data on the website of the citizen group Communities United Against Police Brutality shows a fourth complaint, in 2018, that remains open. No details were given.
Locke’s death came as three former Minneapolis police officers in George Floyd’s killing. It sparked protests and a reexamination of no-knock search warrants.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced an immediate moratorium on such warrants, and in March, he announced a new policy that requires officers to knock and wait before entering a residence. Some lawmakers also have been pushing for a statewide ban on no-knock warrants, except in rare circumstances.
In their applications for search warrants of the Minneapolis apartment and other locations, authorities said a no-knock warrant was necessary to protect the public and officers as they looked for guns, drugs, and clothing worn by people suspected in a violent killing.
Authorities asked that officers be allowed to conduct the search without knocking, and outside the hours of 7am and 8pm, because the suspects being sought in the January 10 killing of Otis Elder had a history of violence.
Locke was killed seconds after the SWAT team entered the apartment where his family said he was staying. Body camera video shows an officer using a key to unlock the door and enter, followed by at least four officers in uniform and protective vests, time-stamped at about 6.48am As they enter, they repeatedly shouted: ‘Police, search warrant!’ They also shout ‘Hands!’ and ‘Get on the ground!’ Minneapolis Police releases body cam footage of deadly shooting
The video shows an officer kicking a sectional sofa, and Locke is seen wrapped in a comforter, holding a pistol. Three shots are heard and the video ends.
Locke’s parents have said it appeared to them that their son was startled awake and his mother, Karen Wells, called his death ‘an execution.’
Andre Locke’s father parents said at his funeral: ‘It’s sad because Amir Locke was born on 11-11-99, around 4-ish pm and it took 10 hours of labor to push him into this world. And on 2-2-22 those thugs that represent the Minneapolis Police Department executed my baby boy, my beautiful baby boy in less than nine seconds’.
Police have said Locke was not named in the search warrant. His 17-year-old cousin, Mekhi Camden Speed, was named and has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in Elder’s killing.
The search warrants were carried out as part of an investigation into Elder’s death.
Elder, a 38-year-old father, was found shot and laying in the street in what police believe was an apparent robbery. Drugs and money were found in Elder’s SUV, according to court documents.
Locke’s mom Karen Wells pulled no punches as she laid her son to rest at the Shiloh Temple International Ministries on February 17, stating: ‘It’s sad because Amir Locke was born on 11-11-99, around 4-ish pm and it took 10 hours of labor to push him into this world
‘And on 2-2-22 those thugs that represent the Minneapolis Police Department executed my baby boy, my beautiful baby boy in less than nine seconds.’
Addressing the cops behind the shooting, she added at the time: ‘How dare you? You’re not above the law. You’re not above a higher power that we worship.
‘The disrespect you did to my son, you’re going to learn who his mother is.’
Locke’s father Andre said his son was an aspiring musician and was just days away from moving to Texas to be closer to his mother when he was killed. His father is also a musician.
‘He was a young man with plans to move to Dallas, where he would be closer to his mom and — he hoped — build a career as a hip-hop artist, following in the musical steps of his father,’ Ellison and Freeman said in a joint statement.
Amir’s family say he was disturbed and fearful by the raid while sleeping and have now called on Minneapolis to ban no-knock warrants.
Ellison and Freeman said in a statement that it was ‘not the role of our offices to evaluate whether the decision to seek a no-knock warrant was appropriate.’
Wells was joined at the February funeral by Amir’s father Andre Lock. Civil rights activist the Reverend Al Sharpton also spoke, and said Amir’s killing was racist.
Sharpton told the audience: ‘Amir was not guilty of anything but being young and black in America.’ Other speakers at Locke’s funeral at Shiloh Temple International Ministries condemned police for the events that led to Locke´s killing, as they remembered Locke and other black people who have died in encounters with police.
Sharpton said if Minneapolis had passed a ban on no-knock warrants ‘we wouldn´t be at a funeral this morning.’
Sharpton also referenced Black History Month and talked about slavery, detailing how slaves had their names taken away from them and were forced to take the names of their masters. He said black people for too long have been seen as ‘nameless suspects.’
‘Enough is enough. We are no longer going to be your nameless suspects,’ Sharpton said, as the crowed applauded.
Before Sharpton spoke, congregants were prompted to ‘Say his name.’ They responded: ‘Amir Locke.’ Locke’s aunt, Linda Tyler, denounced racism in policing and demanded that officers stop talking about the need for more training, and instead start using de-escalation techniques on white and black people alike. ‘If it is something you simply cannot do, we just ask that you resign today instead of resigning another brother or sister to her grave,’ she said. She also said she doesn´t want to hear about how policing is a difficult job.
‘If you think being a police officer is a difficult profession, try to be a black man,’ she said, as the crowd erupted in cheers.
A large portrait of Locke was displayed at the front of the church, with a white casket topped with roses and bouquets of flowers nearby. Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter were among those in attendance.
Locke’s death has provoked an outcry against no-knock warrants, with a push by his family and others to ban them in Minnesota and beyond.