Parents speak out in fatal Minneapolis police shooting
Advisory: Video contains graphic violence
The parents of Amir Locke and their attorneys said Friday that the 22-year-old Black man was "executed" by a Minneapolis SWAT team that woke him from a deep sleep, and that he reached in confusion for a legal firearm to protect himself.
Locke’s parents, Andre Locke and Karen Wells, described him as respectful, including to police, and said some of their relatives work in law enforcement. Wells said the couple coached their son on how to act and do "what they needed to do whenever they encountered police officers" because of the danger to "unarmed Black males."
The parents spoke at a news conference organized by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who said Locke’s family was "just flabbergasted at the fact that Amir was killed in this way" and disgusted at how the Wednesday morning raid was conducted. They said he was law-abiding, with no criminal record, and had a permit to carry a gun.
Crump said it was shocking that Minneapolis police had not learned from the death of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in a botched raid at her home in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2020, leading to calls for an end to no-knock warrants nationwide.
Police said Locke pointed a loaded gun "in the direction of officers." An incident report said he had two wounds in the chest and one in the right wrist.
Body camera video released by police Thursday evening shows the footage in slow motion and at regular speed. It 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 6:48 a.m. As they enter, they repeatedly shout, "Police, search warrant!" They also shout "Hands!" and "Get on the ground!" The video shows an officer kick a sectional sofa, and Locke, who was wrapped in a blanket on the sofa, begins to move, holding a pistol. Three shots are heard, and the video ends.
The city also released a still from the video showing Locke holding the gun, his trigger finger along the side of the barrel. The top of Locke’s head is barely visible.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he asked Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to help review the case for possible charges. Ellison’s office led prosecutions of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in George Floyd’s killing and of former Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter in the shooting of Black motorist Daunte Wright.
Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman said the officer, Mark Hanneman, was in a difficult position and had to make a "split second decision" when he saw the gun in Locke’s hand.
Hanneman was hired in 2015. Records released by the city showed three complaints, all closed without discipline, but gave no details. Data on the website of the citizen group Communities United Against Police Brutality showed a fourth complaint, in 2018, that remains open. No details were given.
Huffman said the city had knock and no-knock warrants.