By Grace Hamilton, Staff Writer
Nearly two years after the shooting of George Floyd, Minneapolis is once again the subject of national attention after 22-year-old Amir Locke was fatally shot by Minneapolis police on Feb. 2.
The Minneapolis SWAT team entered the apartment building where Locke resided in order to execute a no-knock search warrant. The warrant was issued in connection to a St. Paul homicide that took place in January.
When the SWAT team entered a unit on the seventh floor of the building, they confronted a man with a handgun, which was allegedly pointed at the officers. SWAT team member Mark Hanneman then fired, hitting the man later identified as Amir Locke three times. The incident report from the shooting claimed that officers loudly declared themselves before entering the apartment.
Criticism has arisen after it was revealed that Locke was not listed on the search warrant, nor was he an active suspect in the homicide. Locke’s family also reported that he was a registered gun owner.
On Feb. 3, the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) released the 54-second long body cam footage from the shooting. The footage revealed that despite what was recorded in the incident report, the SWAT team members did not announce itself themselves before entering the apartment of Amir Locke.
On Feb. 4 and 5 protests took place in downtown Minneapolis, calling for Hanneman to be charged as well as for Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey and police chief Amelia Huffman to resign from their positions.
The shooting has also brought into further question and scrutiny the use of no-knock warrants, which drew heavy criticism after the death of Breonna Taylor.
No-knock warrants are search warrants that do not require police to announce their presence before entering a residence. Florida, Oregon and Virginia have all banned no-knock warrants, and in June 2020, Louisville, Ky. passed Breonna’s Law, effectively outlawing no-knock warrants and requiring police body cams to remain on during searches.
In November 2020, the law was changed in Minneapolis to require a supervisor’s approval to execute a no-knock warrant, though it is reported that the law has not produced a significant change in the use of no-knock warrants.
His parents described him as an avid sports player and a good kid. His mother has talked about his passion for music, particularly hip hop.
“Amir was a bright light, and he deserves to be able to shine,” his father, Andre Locke, said during a news conference two weeks ago.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison reported that an investigation will occur to decide whether any of the officers should be charged in Locke’s death. Mayor Frey also announced a ban on no-knock warrants, two days after the death of Amir Locke.