What You Need to Know:
The mother of Amir Locke is calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate bringing federal charges in the murder of her son by police. Karen Wells, along with civil rights activists, attorney Ben Crump and the Rev. Al Sharpton, have charged the Minneapolis police department with violating the 22-year-old Black man’s federal civil rights during the February 2 early morning “no-knock” warrant entry.
Amir Locke was killed seconds after a SWAT team entered an apartment of a family member. Body camera video shows an officer using a key to unlock the door. He was followed into the apartment by several other officers in protective gear. Upon entry, they were heard on tape shouting, “Police, search warrant! Hands! Get on the ground!”
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman announced charges would not be pressed against Minnesota police SWAT team member Mark Hanneman, nor any other police involved in the shooting of Locke. There was, according to prosecutors, insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hanneman violated state statute regarding use of deadly force. The “no knock” apartment warrant was connected to a murder investigation in neighboring St. Paul, Minnesota. The handgun that Amir reportedly drew, was his legal weapon used as protection for his food delivery job.
Ms. Wells spoke with Attorney General Ellison before the official announcement.
“I reiterated to him that I was not disappointed. I was disgusted with the decision,” she said.
Civil rights organizations state the requests made to the Justice Department are based upon the following facts:
1-Amir Locke was not the subject of the “no-knock” warrant.
2-He was a licensed gun owner.
3-Locke had every right to stop an unknown intruder entering the apartment without warning.
“This is not over,” said Rev. Al Sharpton. “We will fight with this family to get a federal investigation on this case.”
Benjamin Crump linked the murders of Amir Locke and Breonna Taylor, in which Louisville, KY police raided her home in 2020 with a “no-knock” warrant. “If it can happen to Amir, if it can happen to Breonna Taylor, it can happen to your children, too,” Crump said.
Friday marked the end of “no-knock” warrants in Minneapolis. According to Mayor Jacob Frey, this prevents city police officers from applying for no-knock search warrants, which denies entry to a location with first knocking or announcing police presence. It also prohibits them from asking other agencies to execute a “no-knock” search warrant on their behalf.