No charges filed in no-knock warrant killing of Amir Locke in Minnesota

MINAPOLIS – Minnesota prosecutors on Wednesday refused to press charges against a Minneapolis SWAT police officer who fatally shot Amir Locke while executing a search warrant early in the morning without hitting an apartment in downtown Fe.

Locke, 22, who was black, was living on a couch in the apartment when authorities stormed him on Feb. 2 without knocking on the door of a homicide investigation in nearby St. Louis. Paul.

His parents said that from what they saw in the video of the camera of the police body, it seemed that their son was surprised. His mother, Karen Wells, called his death an “execution.” Their lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Locke, who was not named on the warrant, was shot seconds after authorities said he aimed his shotgun at police. Locke’s family disputed this. The body camera video shows Locke holding a gun before being shot.

Attorney General Keith Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman, whose offices examined the case, said they found Officer Mark Hanneman was justified in firing his weapon.

“There is insufficient evidence to prosecute in this case. In particular, the state will not be able to refute beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements of the Minnesota law on the use of deadly force that allows “Officer Hanneman used force,” Ellison and Freeman said in a joint statement.

Locke’s death came as three former Minneapolis police officers were on trial in St Paul’s federal court for the murder of George Floyd. It provoked protests and a review of search warrants without strikes. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced an immediate moratorium on such warrants and on Tuesday formalized a new policy that will take effect on Friday, requiring officers to strike and wait before entering a home. Some lawmakers have also pushed for a nationwide ban on non-strike orders, except in rare cases.

“Amir Locke is a victim,” said Ellison and Freeman. “This tragedy may not have happened without the strike ban order used in this case.

In their requests for search warrants in the Minneapolis district and elsewhere, authorities said a no-hit warrant was needed to protect the public and officers as they searched for weapons, drugs and clothing worn by people suspected of violent murder. Authorities demanded that police be allowed to conduct the search without knocking, and outside 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., because the suspects wanted in the January 10 murder of Otis Elder had a history of violence.

Locke was killed seconds after the SWAT team entered the apartment where his family told him he was staying. The body camera video shows a police officer using a key to unlock the door and enter, followed by at least four police officers in uniform and protective vests, at about 6:48 a.m. As they enter, they shout repeatedly: “Police, search warrant!” They also shout “Hands!” and “Go to the ground!”

The video shows an officer kicking a couch and Locke seen wrapped in a duvet holding a pistol. Three shots are fired and the video ends.

Ellison and Freeman said the case showed that no-hit warrants were “highly dangerous” and could pose “significant risks” to people not involved in criminal activity.

“Local, state and federal policymakers will have to weigh the benefits of no-frills warrants, which are dangerous to both law enforcement and the public. Other cities, such as Saint Paul, and some states “They have completely stopped using hit orders,” they said.

While Locke was not named on the warrant, his 17-year-old cousin, Mekhi Camden Speed, was named and charged with two counts of second-degree murder in Elder’s murder.

The search warrants were issued as part of an investigation into Elder’s death. Elder, a 38-year-old father, was found shot and lying on the street in what police believe was an obvious robbery. Drugs and money were found in Elder’s SUV, according to court documents.

The police department hired Hanneman in 2015. City records show that three allegations were made against him and that all were closed without discipline, but did not provide details. Data on the Communities United Against Police Brutality website shows a fourth complaint, in 2018, that remains open. No details were given.


Associated Press author Amy Forlitti contributed.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

No charges filed in no-knock warrant killing of Amir Locke in Minnesota Source link No charges filed in no-knock warrant killing of Amir Locke in Minnesota

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