Update (Feb. 7, 2022): In the wake of last week’s police shooting at a Minneapolis apartment, a caravan of vehicles drove through the city Sunday to demand justice for Amir Locke. This includes calling for the resignation of the city’s interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman. Some of the roughly 50 vehicles who participated in the caravan gathered outside what is believed to be Huffman’s home.
“We’re asking for her job,” activist Toussaint Morrison said over a microphone outside the home. “It seems like the only time they pay attention is when it affects their jobs or their money.”
Sunday’s caravan was organized by the Racial Justice Network and other police accountability groups. It followed a march on Saturday that drew hundreds of demonstrators to downtown Minneapolis.
Original Story (Feb. 4, 2022): Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he asked Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to help review a police shooting inside a Minneapolis apartment. The shooting took the life of 22-year-old Amir Locke.
“I promise the Locke family and all Minnesotans that we will work with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office to conduct a fair and thorough review… and that we will be guided by the values of accountability and transparency,” Ellison tweeted Friday. “Amir Locke’s life mattered. He was only 22 years old and had his whole life ahead of him.”
According to police, the shooting happened Wednesday as a Minneapolis SWAT team was serving a warrant as part of a homicide investigation. Minneapolis Police released body cam video of the shooting the next day. According to the video, an officer used a key to unlock the door and enter the apartment.
After they open the door, the officer repeatedly shout, “Police, search warrant!” They also shout “Hands!” and “Get on the ground!” Locke, who was wrapped in a comforter on the couch, eventually began to move while holding a pistol. Three shots are heard, and the video ends.
On Friday, the family of Locke said he was sleeping when the officers entered the apartment. They said in the confusion of being woken up, Locke grabbed for his pistol in order to defend himself. Attorneys for the family blasted Minneapolis police for using what the attorneys saw as a “no-knock warrant”.
“They keyed in and announced themselves after they crossed the threshold while they were inside the apartment. This is the definition of no knock,” Anthony Romanucci, an attorney for the Locke family, said Friday. “They didn’t announce anyone’s name. All they announced was that they were there executing a warrant, waking somebody out of sleep while lawfully possessing a gun.”
No-knock warrants were a source of much debate after the death of Breonna Taylor back in 2020. In the wake of her death, the city of Minneapolis restricted the use of no-knock warrants. Under the city’s policy, officers usually must announce their presence as they enter, make periodic announcements while inside and give occupants reasonable time to respond. Judges can also sign warrants in high-risk situations that allow “unannounced entry,” and they’re generally handled by SWAT teams. A statement from Minneapolis Police did not identify the type of warrant, but said the officers “repeatedly announced their presence” after they entered and “advanced with continued loud announcements of their presence.”
This is the the third high-profile, officer-involved case Ellison’s office has looked into in the past couple of years. The office has also prosecuted former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd, as well as former Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter, who was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright.