Updated as of 4/7/2022 at 1:45 p.m. ET
Amir Locke’s mother, Karen Wells, responded to the news that no charges would be brought against the SWAT team officer who shot and killed her son during a no-knock search raid in Minneapolis, reported NBC News. Officials say there was no sufficient evidence to suggest criminal charges be brought against Officer Mark Hanneman or the other officers involved.
“Be prepared for this family. Every time you take a step, we’re going to be right behind you. This is not over. You may have been found not guilty but in the eyes of me, being the mother who I am, you are guilty,” Wells said to Hanneman in a news conference. “The spirit of my baby is going to haunt you for the rest of your life.”
Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman and Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement that Hanneman’s actions would have been authorized under Minnesota’s use-of-deadly-force statute, per NBC News. Additionally, the statement said the state wouldn’t be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any other officer was involved in the “decision-making” that led to Locke’s death.
More on the statement from NBC News:
The attorneys explained that under Minnesota law, peace officers are authorized to use deadly force while in the line of duty to protect other officers or another from death or great bodily harm.
They said in a press conference after the announcement that Locke’s hand was seen holding a firearm, though his finger was not on the trigger, and at one point it was pointed directly at Hanneman.
In the statement, the officials said Hanneman perceived the movements as a threat of death or great bodily harm.
In February, Locke was sleeping on the couch in an apartment with his licensed firearm beside him when a team of Minneapolis SWAT officers raided the living room to execute a no-knock search warrant. Upon seeing Locke’s firearm from under his blanket, Hanneman shot him three times.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has since prohibited the issuing or request of no-knock warrants for Minneapolis Police Department. However, many believe true accountability would be holding Hanneman responsible for his actions.
Jeff Storms, Locke’s family attorney, said the announcement Wednesday was a “disappointing day for the family” via CNN. “They just have a very strong belief that the incredible wrong that happened to Amir is going to save other people’s lives. They’re not going to let the lack of criminal charges slow them down one bit,” Storms said to CNN.