Hundreds of protestors march through Minneapolis after police shooting of Amir Locke
Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday to protest following the police shooting of Amir Locke, a 22-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by police during an early morning no-knock warrant raid on Wednesday.
Protesters stood outside the Hennepin County Government Center and demanded Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s (D) resignation, CBS Minnesota reported. They also pushed for the firing and prosecution of Minneapolis police officer Mark Hanneman, who fatally shot Locke.
Videos circulated on Twitter showed crowds of people gathering together and chanting “Amir Locke!” while holding up signs with his name scrawled on them. Cars were backed up on some roads as protesters marched in the streets.
Locke was apparently asleep in an apartment in downtown Minneapolis when the police department’s SWAT team, conducting a no-knock warrant raid for the St. Paul Police Department’s homicide unit, entered the apartment around 6:48 a.m., shouting “Police!” and “Get on the ground!”
Body-worn camera footage released on Thursday showed Locke wrapped in a white blanket as police converged on his position on the couch. Locke then got up and appeared to be shot multiple times.
The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) said it was conducting an internal investigation of the incident that would review the policy of no-knock warrants.
In a press release, police said Locke had aimed a weapon at the officers when they entered. The department also released a still image from the video showing a handgun near his body.
Locke’s family has said that he obtained the gun legally. He was not named as a suspect in the warrant. Hanneman, the officer responsible for the shooting, has been placed on administrative leave.
The shooting comes after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis by former police officer Derek Chauvin in 2020, sparking protests around the country. Locke’s death drew the attention of national civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who spoke along with Locke’s parents at a press conference on Friday.
During the press conference, Locke’s parents, Andre Locke and Karen Wells, criticized the no-knock raid and said their son had been “executed” by the police department.
“My son Amir was an entrepreneur,” Andre Locke reportedly said. “He enjoyed learning and asking questions and he enjoyed wanting to be a part of the music industry.”
“My son was executed on 2/2 of 22,” Wells said. “And now his dreams have been destroyed.”
Following the incident, Frey issued a moratorium on no-knock warrants, and promised to review the policy of the warrants along with experts who helped craft Breonna’s Law, which limited the use of no-knock warrants in Kentucky. The law was named after Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police officers in Louisville, Ky., in 2020 during a no-knock raid.
“No matter what information comes to light, it won’t change the fact that Amir Locke’s life was cut short,” Frey said in a statement.