Minneapolis protest of Amir Locke shooting death draws more than 1,000 marchers: reports

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More than 1,000 protesters marched in Minneapolis on Saturday, seeking action following last week’s police “no knock” warrant shooting death of Amir Locke, according to reports.

Locke’s death was the latest in a string of controversial incidents in Minnesota in recent years involving confrontations between Black men and police.

The latest shooting happened early Wednesday inside an apartment as policed conducted a raid in connection with a murder in St. Paul, FOX 9 of Minneapolis reported. 

Locke was not named in the warrant, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported.

Court records show that another man living in the apartment had threatened police during a 2018 arrest, FOX 9 reported.

Police video of the raid suggested Locke, 22, had been sleeping on a couch, wrapped in a blanket, when police entered the apartment and fatally shot him within seconds, the station reported. 

A Minneapolis police body camera image shows 22-year-old Amir Locke wrapped in a blanket on a couch, holding a gun, moments before he was fatally shot by police as they were executing a search warrant in a homicide investigation.
(Minneapolis police via AP)

On Saturday, the crowd gathered around 3 p.m. outside the Hennepin County Government Center then marched for about three hours in cold temperatures, FOX 9 reported.

‘We aren’t police bashers’

Speakers at the gathering included Andre Locke, father of the man who was killed. He called for 22 days of peace in memory of his son.

“Because we aren’t police bashers,” the father said, according to FOX 9. But he called for the removal of what he called “bad seeds” from the city’s police force.

Amir Locke’s father Andre Locke speaks at a news conference, with Amir’s mother Karen Wells, at left, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Minneapolis. (Associated Press)

“There’s great officers that are White. There’s great officers, period,” he said. “But they have bad seeds. They have the bad seeds and those bad seeds are the ones who don’t need to be in our communities.”

On Friday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he would ban “no knock” warrants for police in most situations.

But Saturday’s marchers held signs opposing Frey, with messages such as “Frey lied, Amir died,” and called for Frey and Minneapolis police Chief Amelia Huffman to step down, FOX 9 reported. Protesters noted that Frey had previously promised to end “no knock” warrants in Minneapolis in 2020, after the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, in similar circumstances.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaks in Minneapolis, May 28, 2020. (Associated Press)

A Frey spokesperson outlined the mayor’s plan two years ago.

“Outside of limited exigent circumstances, like a hostage situation, MPD officers will be required to announce their presence prior to entry,” the spokesperson told FOX 9 at the time. “We can’t prevent every tragedy, but we can limit the likelihood of bad outcomes.”

“Outside of limited exigent circumstances, like a hostage situation, MPD officers will be required to announce their presence prior to entry. We can’t prevent every tragedy, but we can limit the likelihood of bad outcomes.”

But police continued seeking and obtaining “no knock” warrants afterward – even though Frey, a Democrat, claimed in campaign literature prior to his November re-election that such warrants had been eliminated, the Star Tribune reported.

Police obtained more than a dozen such warrants in the past month alone, the newspaper noted.

Frey told the Star Tribune that he is not notified when a judge issues a “no knock” warrant.

The warrant that led to Locke’s shooting death was signed by Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, the same judge who presided over the murder trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin in the May 2020 policy-custody death of George Floyd, several Minnesota media outlets reported.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill signed the warrant that led to the police shooting death of Amir Locke, several Minnesota media outlets reported.

Police said after Wednesday’s shooting that Locke possessed a gun, but attorneys representing Locke’s family said Locke owned the firearm legally and didn’t appear to understand what was happening before he was fatally shot, FOX 9 reported.

Officer on leave

The officer who shot Locke has been identified as Officer Mark Hanneman, 34, a seven-year veteran of the force, according to the Star Tribune.

Hanneman has been placed on administrative leave, The Hill reported. The step is common whenever a police officer uses a weapon in an incident, as an investigation gets underway. 

Past controversies in Minnesota between Black men and police have included the death of Floyd, for which Chauvin was convicted of murder last April, and three other officers still face charges, and the April 2021 killing of Daunte Wright in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center, for which a former police officer was convicted of manslaughter in December.

On Friday night, protesters held a car caravan rally against the Locke shooting, FOX 9 reported.

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