Minneapolis Police Kill Amir Locke During No-Knock Warrant

Abi Hilden, staff writer

February 8, 2022 – Minneapolis — Protesters march through Downtown Minneapolis after demanding the Mayor resign following the Minneapolis Police shooting death of Amir Locke during a no-knock search warrant. Obtained from Wikimedia Commons

Just before 7:00 a.m. on Feb. 2, 2022, 22-year-old Amir Locke was fatally shot by an officer from the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). 

MPD was assisting in the investigation of a homicide being conducted by the St. Paul Police Department by executing a no-knock warrant in three locations of the building where Locke was shot. Locke, who was reportedly sleeping on his cousin’s couch, was awoken by police officers demanding him to get on the ground. As Locke began to rise, one officer saw a gun in Locke’s hand. The officer, identified as Mark Hanneman, then shot Locke three times; twice in the chest and once in the wrist. MPD have stated that Locke was immediately brought to paramedics and rushed to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Locke’s name was not on any warrants that were being executed on Feb. 2, and has had no prior run-ins with police. Locke also was a registered gun owner, and was legally in possession of his firearm at the time he was shot. 

Interim Minneapolis Chief of Police Amelia Huffman and Mayor Jacob Frey initially neglected to release body cam footage of the incident. Mounting pressure from the public eventually led to the release of 14 seconds of footage. The footage revealed that Lock was killed within nine seconds of the SWAT team entering the apartment. 

Huffman has been under scrutiny for comments she made before the release of the footage, claiming that the officers announced themselves as they entered the room and that Locke’s gun was pointed at an officer. The footage released has shown that the officers did not announce themselves and that the direction of Locke’s gun was unclear.

The shooting has spurred protests all across the state, with demonstrators gathering outside what is believed to be Huffman’s home on Sunday night. Demands of protests are mostly centered around the banning of no-knock warrants. Many, such as Augsburg Political Science Professor Andrew Aoki, believe that this incident could lead to significant policy change in the use of no-knock warrants.

“Longer-term policy changes can depend on partisan control of state and federal governments – but especially state government,” Aoki told the Echo. “The state government has considerable power over local governments, and there are considerable differences between Democratic and Republican elected officials when it comes to policies regarding police.” 

Plans are already in motion for bills tackling the banning of no-knock warrants, with a hearing being held in Minneapolis on the subject. The Minnesota House of Representatives has also reportedly agreed to move a standalone bill regarding the policy and Gov. Tim Walz has stated that he would sign a bill banning the no-knock warrants if it lands on his desk this session.

Karen Wells, Amir Locke’s mother, is seeking justice for her son. She has indicated that she is hoping to see the officer responsible fired and prosecuted. Wells has said that her son was respectful, curious, and just an all around good person. 

“Amir was all about changing the world and changing the youth and giving them everything they needed,” said Wells to the Star Tribune. “Now his dreams have been destroyed, but as his mother, I will make sure that as long as I am on this side of this world I am going to fight every day to make sure that Amir Rahkare Locke gets justice for being executed by the Minneapolis police.”