Amir Locke: Footage of cops on no-knock warrant shoot dead man likened to Breonna Taylor case
Footage showed Minneapolis officers executing a search warrant at an apartment where Amir Locke was curled on the couch under a blanket
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey released body camera footage that showed officers fatally shooting an armed man on a couch while executing a no-knock warrant. The video was made public after the incident caused an uproar and was compared to the shooting of Breonna Taylor.
Graphic footage showed Minneapolis officers executing a search warrant at an apartment where Amir Locke, 22, was curled on the couch under a blanket. The warrant that was part of a homicide investigation allowed the police to enter the unit without knocking or announcing their presence. The clip, which lasted 54 seconds, showed a SWAT officer using a key to enter the apartment. He was followed by at least four others in tactical gear at about 6:48 am on Wednesday in the footage released Thursday, February 3.
"Police, search warrant!" the authorities are heard shouting as they enter the apartment. They are also heard saying "Hands!" and "Get on the ground!" before an officer is seen kicking a sectional sofa and Locka emerges from under a blanket, brandishing a pistol. Three shots are fired before the video ends. In the release, the city also included a still from the footage showing Locke holding the gun with his trigger finger on the barrel and not in a shooting position. The footage was made public after growing calls for transparency over the shooting.
In a statement on Wednesday, February 2, the Minneapolis Police Department said that Locke pointed a loaded gun "in the direction of officers." According to an incident report, he sustained two wounds in the chest and one in the right wrist.
Locke's family reportedly told Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights attorney and prominent community activist, that Locke was a licensed gun owner with a concealed carry permit. They also revealed that he didn't live in the apartment and noted that police had not been looking for him considering he wasn't one of three suspects named in the warrant. His mother Karen Locke has now hired civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who has notably won huge settlements for families of several police shooting victims, including $27 million for the family of George Floyd.
This is a photo of 22-year-old Amir Locke, identified as the man who was shot and killed by Minneapolis Police on Wednesday morning (courtesy of his family).— Kirsten Swanson (@KirstenKSTP) February 3, 2022
At 6p, the growing calls for release of body cam footage @KSTP pic.twitter.com/9tBuJXTsM4
Crump likened Locke's shooting to the botched raid that saw officers fatally shoot Breonna Taylor in her Louisville, Kentucky home in 2020, which sparked calls for reform across the nation. "Like the case of Breonna Taylor, the tragic killing of Amir Locke shows a pattern of no-knock warrants having deadly consequences for Black Americans. This is yet another example of why we need to put an end to these kinds of search warrants so that one day, Black Americans will be able to sleep safely in their beds at night," Crump said. Meanwhile, Armstrong posted a link to the video on social media, for those "who can stomach the murderous conduct of the Minneapolis Police Department." She added, "The mother in me is furious and sick to my stomach. Amir never had a chance to survive that encounter with police."
Mayor Frey admitted that the video "raises about as many questions as it does answers" and said the authorities conducting investigations "as quickly as possible and in a transparent fashion." That said, the officer who shot Locke was identified as Mark Hanneman, who was recruited by the department in 2015.