Monday, September 25

Amir Locke, black man shot to death by Minneapolis police, was not named in arrest warrants

Minneapolis — A black man who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police while executing a search warrant in a homicide investigation was wrapped in a blanket on a couch when SWAT officers entered the apartment, displaying a handgun while yelling at him to show his guns. hands and get on the ground, police body camera video shows.

Police identified the man Thursday as 22-year-old Amir Locke.

Public information documents released Thursday night confirm he was fatally shot by officer Mark Hanneman Wednesday morning, CBS Minneapolis reports, adding that police said a loaded gun was recovered at the scene.

The Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement Wednesday that Locke pointed a loaded gun “in the direction of officers.” An incident report said he had two wounds to his chest and one to his right wrist.

The body camera video shows the footage at slow speed and then at normal speed. It shows an officer using a key to open the door and enter, followed by at least four officers in uniform and protective vests, with the time marked around 6:48 a.m. As they enter, they repeatedly yell, “Police, warrant! break-in!” They also yell “Hands!” and “Get on the ground!” The video shows an officer kicking over a sectional couch and Locke beginning to emerge from under a blanket, holding a gun. Three shots are heard and the video ends.

The city also included a still from the video showing Locke holding the gun, his trigger finger away from the barrel. The top of Locke’s head is barely visible.

Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights attorney and prominent community activist whom the mayor named last year as co-chair of a community safety task force, said Locke’s family told her Locke was a licensed gun owner with a permit. concealed carry, that he does not live in the apartment, that police had not been looking for him, and that he was not one of the three suspects named in the warrant.

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Acting Chief Amelia Huffman said the city had warrants for her arrest and do not call.

She told a news conference after the video was released that Locke is not listed on any arrest warrants. He said it’s not clear how or if Locke is connected to the homicide investigation, which he said is under the control of the St. Paul Police Department. That agency has released few details so far, and arrest warrants were not publicly available Thursday.

Mayor Jacob Frey said the video “raises as many questions as it answers” and said the city was seeking answers “as quickly and transparently as possible” through investigations, including one by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

CBS News has reached out to the Minneapolis Police Department for comment.

Huffman said at the news conference that Hanneman was in a difficult position.

“The still shot shows the image of the firearm in the subject’s hands, at the best possible moment when the lighting was completely on him. That is the moment when the officer had to make a split-second decision to assess the circumstances and determine if he felt there was an articulable threat, that the threat was one of imminent harm, great bodily harm, or death, and that he needed to take action. measures at that time to protect yourself and your partners,” he said.

Hanneman was hired in 2015. Records released by the city showed three complaints, all closed without discipline, but did not provide details. Data from the website of the citizen group United Communities Against Police Brutality yielded a fourth complaint, in 2018, which remains open. No details were given.

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Levy Armstrong posted a link to the video on social media “for those who can stand the murderous conduct of the Minneapolis Police Department.” She added: “The mother in me is furious and sick to her stomach. Amir never had a chance to survive that encounter with the police.”

She and other activists angrily confronted the mayor and acting chief at their news conference, with Levy Armstrong calling the city’s release of information “the anatomy of a cover-up.” Another activist criticized the couple for a press release on Wednesday that referred to Locke as a “suspect.”

Locke’s mother, Karen Locke, declined to comment to The Associated Press earlier Thursday, referring questions to family attorney Ben Crump.

The civil rights attorney has won large settlements for the families of several people killed by police, including $27 million for the family of George Floyd. Crump and the family, who were shown the video before it was made public, planned a news conference on Friday.

In a statement, Crump compared Locke’s shooting to the botched raid in which officers killed breonna taylor at his home in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2020, sparking calls for change across the country.

“Like the case of Breonna Taylor, the tragic murder of Amir Locke shows a pattern of warrants that have deadly consequences for Black Americans. This is another example of why we must end these types of warrants to that one day African Americans will be able to sleep safely in their beds at night,” Crump said.

Huffman said the city had warrants for his arrest and no entry.

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Several Minneapolis state legislators joined Levy Armstrong and others in calling for the body camera footage to be made public. In a letter to Huffman and Frey, they insisted that “one path to building trust between the police department and the community is through greater transparency and accountability of police actions.”

The city posted some reports and photos of the gun recovered from the scene on its website on Wednesday.

Police body camera and dash cam videos are often withheld by Minneapolis city leaders and law enforcement officials for weeks or even months, citing ongoing investigations as justification.

But not always.

In December 2020, after Dolal Idd was shot by an officer at a gas station on the south side of Minneapolis, the city released video the next day, saying it showed the man had shot officers first. And last April, police in suburban Brooklyn Center released a video the day after Daunte Wright’s shooting, saying it showed that Officer Kim Potter he apparently intended to use his taser but drew his gun by accident. Potter was convicted of manslaughter in December.

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