Amir Rahkare Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by Minneapolis police Wednesday morning. Police camera footage of the incident has been released publicly, showing Locke being swarmed by a group of officers while curled in a blanket on the couch, according to CBS Minneapolis. Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman confirmed the SWAT team was serving an arrest warrant for a suspect in a homicide case from another city. Huffman said Locke was not named as the suspect in the warrant, per CBS local.
A SWAT team entered an apartment downtown Minneapolis, and approached Locke who was armed with a licensed gun. Within nine seconds of approaching him, Officer Mark Hanneman fired shots at Locke. City documents reported Locke was shot twice in the chest and once in the wrist, reported CBS local. Police body camera footage, demanded by the American Civil Liberties Union, has been released to the public via YouTube.
Mayor Jacob Frey and Chief Huffman held a press conference to respond to the video footage.
From CBS Minneapolis:
The officers approach a couch on which Locke is wrapped in a blanket. He sits up and turns toward the officers. He is holding a gun. An instant later, an officer fires three shots, and Locke falls to the floor. The shooting is replayed in super-slow motion. The entire video then plays again in real time. In total, Locke is shot roughly 10 seconds after officers open the apartment door.
Huffman said both a knock and no-knock warrant were obtained so that the SWAT team could make its best assessment. She said when Officer Hanneman saw Locke holding a gun, he had to make a “split-second decision” on if there was a threat of great bodily harm or death, and to protect himself and his partners. She said his decision would ultimately be examined by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office when it gets the case.
Reporters asked the chief why her claims of the SWAT team ‘”loudly announcing themselves” in the previous press conference contrasted the events that occurred in the video footage. Reporters insisted they did not hear the officers announce themselves though Huffman denied the allegations, per the press conference. Reporters also asked why it was protocol for all officers to shout on top of one another while approaching Locke instead of assigning one officer to issue the warrant.
Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights activist and member of the mayor’s Community Safety Workgroup, interrupted the conference to demand Huffman and Frey take accountability of the situation.
From CBS Minneapolis:
“I don’t know how you guys slept at night. I couldn’t sleep at night. Tears from a mother’s perspective, thinking about what happened. I saw the picture of Amir, he looks like a boy. My son is 17 years old. He has slept on his friend’s couches for sleepovers. So we cannot sit here and whitewash this and pretend that it’s okay.
You knew that I was not going to stand for police violence and a push for accountability. I signed up to help bring recommendations cause we’re tired of being killed. We’re tired of the coverups. We’re tired of the excuses - People are asking very simple questions that are still not being answered, Amelia. You’re saying you want to be the chief then act like it. Demonstrate integrity. Don’t cover up for what those cops did.”
Another activist criticized the release of images of Locke’s weapon, criminalizing him though he never fired his weapon, per CBS local. Reporters and activists shouted questions regarding Locke being labeled as a suspect in the initial press release and apprehension of Hanneman as she and the mayor left he room after cutting the conference short.
Activist groups are calling for Hanneman to be charged with murder, reported CBS local. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will work with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to review the shooting.