The warrant the Minneapolis SWAT team served that led to the fatal shooting of Amir Locke was targeted at his 17-year-old cousin Mekhi Speed, reported CNN. Through surveillance footage, investigators linked Speed to a stolen car that was identified as the getaway vehicle in a homicide. Speed was arrested Tuesday.
CNN reported there were two other people who were persons of interest in the crime. Warrants were obtained to search three apartments in the building where Locke was killed: one where Speed lived with his mother, another on the floor connected to a co-suspect and another belonging to the girlfriend of Speed’s brother, per USA Today. Police had court documents establishing the police’s cause for making an arrest.
Attorneys for the Locke family released a statement Tuesday confirming Speed was Locke’s cousin, reading in part, “His cousin was not present in Unit 701,” the statement began. “We must remain focused on the fact that Amir was an innocent young man of a raid gone terribly wrong, who is now the latest statistic and victim of the dangerous and intrusive no-knock warrant techniques that must be banned.”
Speed is facing two counts of second-degree murder and may be charged as an adult by prosecutors, per CNN. January 10, St. Paul officers responded to the shooting and killing of 38-year-old Otis Elder. Investigators traced a Mercedes-Benz from the crime scene to the apartment building where Locke was.
Both no-knock and knock warrants were obtained for the Minneapolis SWAT team so they could “make the best possible decision about entry” said Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman. Police were looking for Speed but as they approached Locke, who was asleep on the couch, Officer Hanneman opened fire upon seeing his handgun. Speed’s brother and his brother’s girlfriend were in the apartment at the time Locke was shot, reported CNN.
Hanneman has been placed on administrative leave, as is policy, pending the ongoing investigation. The Minneapolis Police Officers Federation released a statement, reading in part, “Officers were obviously prepared for a very dangerous and high-risk situation. During the event, as shown in the body-camera footage, Officer Hanneman quickly encountered Mr. Locke who was armed with a handgun and made the decision to use deadly force.”
“No officer goes into a dangerous setting like this wanting to use a weapon. That decision was not taken lightly, and the impact of the use of deadly force will affect these officers, their families, and the family of Mr. Locke for the rest of their lives,” it continued.
This case couldn’t be more heart-wrenching. Not only was this another innocent Black life taken by coward police but Locke was also profiled as a suspect. In that “split second” Hanneman saw his handgun and could’ve assumed Locke was actually his younger cousin. Locke didn’t even have the chance to give his name.