Wednesday morning, just before 7 AM, 22-year-old Amir Locke was fatally shot in a Minneapolis apartment police raid. Police fired three shots, saying Locke pointed a loaded gun “in the direction of officers.”
In bodycam footage of the fatal shooting, released Thursday evening, police officers are seen entering an apartment using a key to unlock the door. Upon entering, the four officers shout “Police, search warrant!” as well as “Hands!” and “Get on the fucking ground!” After an officer kicks the sectional sofa, Locke rises, appearing to be woken up from sleep, wrapped in a blanket, and begins to move. Footage shows a pistol in his hand, though its direction is unclear. Police then opened fire, shooting Locke twice in the chest and once in his wrist, and the victim was later taken to Hennepin County Medical Center where he died.
This morning, civil rights attorney Ben Crump shared that Locke’s family was “just flabbergasted at the fact that Amir was killed in this way” and disgusted at how the SWAT team raid was conducted.
“They didn’t even give him a chance,” Crump said, recalling parallels to Breonna Taylor who was murdered by police who obtained a no-knock warrant in Louisville, Kentucky.
Mark Hanneman, the officer identified as the one who shot Locke, has been placed on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation. Hanneman's record — released by the city — includes three complaints that were closed without discipline; and data on the website of the citizen group Communities United Against Police Brutality shows a fourth that remains open.
During the city’s press conference last night, activist Nekima Levy Armstrong confronted the mayor and interim chief, saying “the mother in me is furious and sick to my stomach.”
Levy Armstrong, who was appointed last year by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey to co-chair a community safety workgroup, shared that Locke’s family told her Locke was a licensed gun owner with a concealed carry permit, also highlighting, that he did not live in the apartment in which he was killed, nor was he one of the three suspects named in the warrant.
The search warrant prompting the early-morning SWAT raid was connected to an ongoing homicide investigation at the building where the shooting took place.
Frey and the city of Minneapolis are launching a series of investigations, including one by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. On the bodycam footage, Frey said the video “raises about as many questions as it does answers.”
Police Chief Amelia Huffman said Hanneman had to make a “split-second decision.” With the real-time footage lapsing 14 seconds, Locke’s life was lost in a matter of moments.
Photo via Getty/ Stephen Maturen