Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey imposed a moratorium on no-knock warrants following the murder of Amir Locke by police and will work with national experts on how to revise the department policy on no-knock warrants, reported PBS Newshour. The gesture was important but will not undo the actions of the officers involved in Locke’s death.
Monday, a coalition of Black mothers came to the Minneapolis City Hall to demand Frey to fire Officer Mark Hanneman who killed Amir Locke, per NBC News. Activist and civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong also called for the resignation of Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman for attempting to cover up the situation and defending Hanneman.
From NBC News:
She demanded that Frey immediately fire Mark Hanneman, the Minneapolis police officer who she said fatally shot Locke, as well as called for the immediate firing or resignation of Huffman, who she said has proven herself unfit to lead the department.
“She failed — miserably,” Armstrong said. Huffman failed to “speak truthfully and candidly” about what transpired at the apartment and to take accountability, Armstrong said.
“We do not want a chief who continues with business as usual,” Armstrong said. “Even after the body camera footage was released, she continued to distort the truth,” to pretend that Locke was a suspect and to focus on a gun he had a license to carry, she said. She also questioned Huffman’s recent appointments, some of whom, Armstrong said, “had long disciplinary records.”
Armstrong also called for disciplinary actions to be taken against the other SWAT officers at the scene. “They were working in concert and they need to be held accountable,” she said via NBC.
Frey’s office will work with activist DeRay McKesson and professor Peter Kraska of the School of Justice at Eastern Kentucky University to review police department policies no-knock warrants, according to PBS. Frey chose those two as they were influential in constructing Breonna’s Law, which made limited use of no-knock warrants a state law in Kentucky.
From PBS Newshour:
“No matter what information comes to light, it won’t change the fact that Amir Locke’s life was cut short,” Frey said in a statement. His office said that under the moratorium, a no-knock warrant can only be used if there is an imminent threat of harm, and even then the warrant must be approved by the chief.
The search warrants that led the SWAT team to enter the apartment were filed under seal and will not be made public immediately.
The body camera footage of the shooting shows the police announce themselves, shouting at Locke, after they open the door. Locke, who was wrapped in a blanket on the couch, moves from under the blanket exposing the handgun beside him. Officer Mark Hanneman fired three shots at him and the video ends.
The city also released a still image from the body camera footage of Locke’s hand holding his firearm as if that is enough to validate Hanneman’s actions and suggest Locke had intentions to shoot.
A gun-rights group highlighted the timing of the raid, saying it appeared from the video that Locke was awakened by a confusing array of commands from officers pointing lights and guns at him.
“Mr. Locke did what many of us might do in the same confusing circumstances, he reached for a legal means of self-defense while he sought to understand what was happening,” said Rob Doar, a spokesman for the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus. Locke’s family, activists and organizations called for the resignation of both Hanneman as well as Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman
Locke’s parents, Andre Locke and Karen Wells, also shared in the press conference that they taught Amir how to handle interactions with police to make sure he would make it out of those encounters alive. Hanneman didn’t even give him a chance. Wells said her son was executed.
“And I think what the family is reconciling is knowing that if he was a white child with a firearm, he would not have been shot within a second. We believe he would have been told to drop your weapon, to drop your firearm,” said Locke’s cousin Nneka Constantino.