Minneapolis police kill a Black man while executing a no-knock warrant
A controversial police shooting in Minneapolis is under review, after a team of SWAT officers killed Amir Locke on Wednesday seconds after they burst into an apartment to serve a no-knock warrant.
“Amir Locke’s life mattered,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement sent to NPR. “He was only 22 years old and had his whole life ahead of him.”
Ellison says his office is working with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office to review and decide whether to bring criminal charges in the case, which comes less than two years after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd.
Seconds before police killed him Wednesday morning, Locke appeared to be asleep on a couch, under a blanket. The video from an officer-worn camera shows that Locke, who is Black, had a gun in his hand. But both the authorities and Locke’s attorneys agree that he was not the subject of the warrant police were attempting to execute.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner released a statement on Locke’s death Friday, stating that he “died of multiple gunshot wounds and manner of death is homicide.”
The officer in the case has been put on paid administrative leave while the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigates the killing.
Locke’s family has retained attorneys Ben Crump and Jeff Storms. In a statement sent to NPR, Crump’s office said that Locke “has several family members in law enforcement and no past criminal history,” adding that he “legally possessed a firearm at the time of his death.”
“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,” Crump said. “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.”
The video was released Thursday night, providing new details about what happened when police came to the apartment where Locke was sleeping shortly before 7 a.m. on Wednesday.
In the footage, an officer is seen carefully inserting a key into the door at the apartment, as the rest of the SWAT team stands ready.
“Police search warrant!” they yell as they enter the dark apartment, holding pistols and flashlights. The footage shows officers approaching a couch where a man, later identified as Locke, is under a blanket. “Get on the ground! Get on the f***ing ground!” an officer shouts.
As he moves, the video shows that he’s holding a pistol. The officers open fire. From the time the door opens to the shooting, about 9 seconds elapse, according to the video.
“This video raises about as many questions as it answers,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said, according to member station Minnesota Public Radio. “We intend to get answers as quickly as possible.”
MPR adds that the search warrant that brought police to the apartment where Locke was sleeping stemmed from a homicide investigation in St. Paul.