Twenty-two year-old black man Amir Locke fatally shot by police during a no-knock raid

Story by Eliana Merck, Editor-in-Chief

Amir Locke, a twenty-two year-old black man, was shot and killed by Mark Hanneman, a Minneapolis police officer. 

In the early hours of February 2, 2022, members of the Minneapolis police department SWAT team assembled outside an apartment building to execute a warrant. The warrant was for a homicide investigation happening in St. Paul. The police believed Mekhi Speed, Locke’s older brother, was associated with said murder. They had linked him to the case through surveillance videos.

The SWAT officers stormed into the apartment while Locke was asleep and Hanneman shot the man three times, once in the wrist and twice in the chest. He was described by police to be a suspect, but his name wasn’t even on the warrant. His murder happened within the range of ten seconds. 

In the body cam footage, Locke is shown to have a gun in his hand, which he did indeed have a warrant for. It was pointed towards the floor, unlike claims made by police chief Amelia Huffman. She says Hanneman was prompted to shoot Locke because his gun was pointed at an officer “out of frame”.

Huffman also claims that the officers had announced “police search warrant” several times before entering the apartment, but the body cam footage shows that the officers burst into the apartment whilst announcing their arrival. She also declares that Locke appearing as a “suspect” was due to lack of stable information on his identity, but the police incident report outlines that the officers knew of Locke’s identity around a half-hour before storming the apartment. He was not considered a suspect at this time.

Ever since Locke’s death, his parents have been advocating to put an end to no-knock warrants in the city. Andre Locke, Amir Locke’s father, told CNN, “The no-knock warrant is what caused Amir’s death.” Locke’s mother, Karen Wells, has also stated, “We want it (no-knock warrants) banned in the name of Amir Locke so that this doesn’t happen to anybody else’s child.”

Locke’s father has also voiced, “Some of these people believe because they put the badge on that they’re above the law. But what they forget is that there’s police that police the police. They can be accountable from a higher position, but they forget that because they believe when it’s the African American male or a Brown-skin person from our Brown communities, they feel like we’re not human. This is the reason that we have to humanize our children to America to show that this is wrong.”

No-knock warrants have caused the deaths of many black Americans, including Breonna Taylor. These warrants have taken an unfair toll on black individuals. The University of Hartford found that, “…in the period from 2010-2016 alone, this policy caused the death of 81 civilians and 13 officers, more than half the civilians being minorities, most of whom were Black.”

This policy has been the cause of too many “accidental” deaths, and needs to be abolished in order to avoid further more of these casualties.