How A Botched No-Knock Raid Led To Amir Locke’s Tragic Shooting Death
Loved ones “just flabbergasted” the 22-year-old Minnesota man “was killed in this way,” lawyer says.
In early February, law enforcement obtained a no-knock warrant for a Minneapolis apartment in their search for Mekhi Speed, a 17-year-old suspect in the Jan. 10 shooting death of Otis Elder, 38, in St. Paul, KSTP reported.
Officers serving the warrant almost immediately encounter issues.
On Feb. 2 just before 7 a.m., Amir Locke — Speed’s 22-year-old cousin who was staying with him — was sleeping on a couch in the apartment when an officer opened the door with a key. According to the Associated Press, body camera video shows multiple uniformed officers storming the residence, shouting: “Police, search warrant!” “Hands!” and “Get on the ground!”
In the video, Locke, who is wrapped in a comforter, can be seen trying to stand up and holding a pistol that investigators later determined he legally owned.
Three shots were fired, killing Locke, who was not named in the warrant or connected to the homicide, according to CNN.
Speed, the victim’s cousin who was wanted by authorities, was taken into custody in Winona days later.
Officials say officer who killed Locke “had to make a split-second decision.”
At a Feb. 3 press conference, the AP reported, Interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman explained a still shot taken from body camera footage recorded the morning of the shooting “shows the image of the firearm in the subject’s hands, at the best possible moment when the lighting was fully on him.”
Huffman said it was that moment Mark Hanneman, the officer who shot Locke, “had to make a split-second decision to assess the circumstances and to determine whether he felt like there was an articulable threat, that the threat was of imminent harm, great bodily harm or death, and that he needed to take action right then to protect himself and his partners.”
The medical examiner determines Locke’s manner of death was homicide.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner determined Locke’s death was caused by multiple gunshot wounds and ruled the manner of death homicide, according to KSTP.
In the report, the medical examiner noted the “manner of death classification is a statutory function of the medical examiner, as part of death certification for purposes of vital statistics and public health” and “not a legal determination of culpability or intent.”
“Under Minnesota state law, the Medical Examiner is a neutral and independent office and is separate and distinct from any prosecutorial authority or law enforcement agency,” the report concluded.
Minneapolis’ mayor temporarily bans most no-knock warrants.
At a Feb. 4 news conference, civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Locke’s family was “just flabbergasted at the fact that Amir was killed in this way,” KSTP reported. The SWAT team, Crump added, “didn’t even give him a chance.”
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison have launched a review of what happened leading up to the deadly shooting.
“Amir Locke’s life mattered. He was only 22-years-old and had his whole life ahead of him,” Ellison said in a statement. “His family and friends must now live the rest of their lives without him.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced a temporary ban on police seeking or executing no-knock warrants in most situations.