WARNING: GRAPIC VIDEO BELOW
No-Knock Warrant Results in Another Innocent Black Person Killed
(MN) – On Wednesday, SWAT officers with the Minneapolis Police Department, raided an apartment and killed Amir Locke. Locke had been staying with relatives and was planning on moving to Dallas, Texas within the week. The St. Paul Police Department had requested a knock-and announce warrant for the address Locke was at. They also requested the help of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) in serving the warrant. However, the MPD refused to help unless a no-knock warrant was issued.
It is unclear why they insisted on a no-knock warrant. Since the murder of Amir Locke, the warrant has been sealed. What we know at the current time is that Locke was not named on the warrant. It has also come out that the judge who signed off on the no-knock warrant is the same judge who presided over the Dereck Chauvin trial. That would be Judge Peter Cahill.
We won’t know how justified the judge was in signing the warrant until we know what was in it. Judges are at the mercy of law enforcement. They have to depend that the information given to them is legitimate. If the MPD officers exaggerated the circumstances, Judge Cahill would have no way of knowing that. Yet the simple fact that the St. Paul Police Department obtained a knock-and-announce warrant suggests that the MPD may have distorted the facts.
Dead in Nine Seconds
22-year old Amir Locke had been asleep on the couch, wrapped in a blanket. Locke was licensed to carry a handgun and did have one in his possession. You can see from the video that police obtained a key to the apartment and entered it. They did yell out their presence, but Mr. Locke, like many young people, was in a very deep sleep. An officer kicks the couch to get him to wake up. Locke is startled awake and grabs his gun. Officer Mark Hannaman then shoots Locke three times, killing him. It was less than ten seconds from entry to murder.
Law Enforcement Set Up Excessive Force Incident
Minneapolis interim police chief, Amelia Huffman, said this at a press conference:
These events happen very rapidly and as there is a gun emerging in your direction, you’re forced to make a split second decision about when it’s a threat.
That’s true. What she won’t say is why the MPD insisted on a no-knock warrant. People do not react well to someone barging into their home. When in fear, the most common reactions are fight or flight. Yet, somehow, police think people should react against their own instincts just because it’s the police. They acknowledge adrenaline rush when they can use it to try to protect one of their own, but ignore it when it’s the public.
By using no-knock warrants, law enforcement is setting up the circumstances that will allow them to use excessive force. After they kill someone, they point to the victim’s reaction as justification for their actions. They completely gloss over the fact that they set the scene in motion to end exactly as it did.
Civil Attorneys to File Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Several civil attorneys have spoken out on the murder of Amir Locke. The MPD is still dealing with the trials for the murder of George Floyd and now they have killed another Black man. At the press conference, civil attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong, calls it the “anatomy of a cover-up.”
“Amir was doomed to die,” said Tony Romanucci, who represented George Floyd’s family in their civil rights case against the City of Minneapolis. “Before the police officers walked in that door, he was going to die. He did not know he was going to die, but because he was a lawful gun owner and because he was of color, he was going to die.”
Also at Audacy.com WCCO, civil attorney, Ben Crump,
“I know that Minneapolis was one of the cities that pledged after Breonna Taylor was unjustly, unnecessarily, and unconstitutionally killed to stop no-knock warrants. They were going to abolish them,” Crump said. “But yet, we have this happen to Amir Locke. If we learned anything from Breonna Taylor it is that no knock warrants have deadly consequences for innocent, law abiding Black citizens.”
Amir Locke was a 22-year old man who did not have a criminal history, but did have a gun permit. He was going to join his mother in Dallas and planned to become a musician like his father. Those plans will never be realized. Locke’s death was ruled a homicide by the Medical Examiner’s Office. Officer Mark Hannaman has been placed on administrative leave. And Locke’s parents are left fighting for justice.