Dramatic body cam video captured the moment a Minneapolis police SWAT team member fatally shot a 22-year-old armed black man during a no-knock-warrant raid on his apartment.
In the clip released by police Thursday, cops are seen turning a key to Amir Locke’s seventh-floor apartment on South Marquette Avenue at 6:48 am Wednesday to serve a warrant in connection with a homicide probe out of St. Paul, the Star Tribune reported.
The officers are seen barging inside the unit, yelling, “Police search warrant! …Get on the f—- ground!” One SWAT team member is heard yelling, “Hands! hands! Hands!”
The cops move toward a couch where Locke is seen covered in a blanket as he tries to stand up while holding a firearm in his right hand. Three gunshots are then heard from one of the officers.
In a city still reeling from the police killing of George Floyd, the shooting is likely to spark new questions about the use of no-knock warrants — particularly since Locke was not the subject of the warrant, according to the paper.
The man was related to one of the people believed to be involved in the St. Paul case, the Star Tribune reported.
Police to comment Thursday, but interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman confirmed declined that Locke was not named in the warrant, according to the outlet.
Officials identified the SWAT team member who fired the fatal shots Wednesday as Mark Hanneman, the Star Tribune reported. The officer has been placed on administrative leave, as per policy, pending the investigation, a city spokesman told CNN.
Locke’s parents, Andre and Karen Locke, declined to comment about the shooting, other than the mother saying, “We want justice for our son.”
A total of 14 seconds elapsed in real time during the chilling video, which was released at various speeds.
“As they got close, you can see, along with an individual emerging from under the blanket, the barrel of a gun, which comes out from the blanket,” Huffman told reporters, according to CNN.
“The officer had to make a split-second decision to assess the circumstances and to determine whether he felt like there was an articulable threat, that the threat was of imminent harm, great bodily harm or death, and that he needed to take action right then to protect himself and his partners,” she added.
The initial release by officials said “officers encountered a male who was armed with a handgun pointed in the direction of officers.”
Police said Locke was given immediate first aid before he was carried down to the lobby to meet paramedics who rushed him to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died.
Huffman told reporters Thursday that “at this point, it’s unclear if or how he (Locke) is connected to St. Paul’s investigation,” CNN reported.
“These events unfold in seconds but the trauma is long-lasting. A young man lost his life, and his friends and family are in mourning,” she added.
The family has retained civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Jeff Storms, who won big settlements for the relatives of multiple people killed by police, including a $27 million settlement between the city of Minneapolis and Floyd’s family.
“Locke, who has several family members in law enforcement and no past criminal history, legally possessed a firearm at the time of his death,” Crump said in a statement, CNN reported.
“Like the case of Breonna Taylor, the tragic killing of Amir Locke shows a pattern of no-knock warrants having deadly consequences for Black Americans,” he said.
“This is yet another example of why we need to put an end to these kinds of search warrants so that one day, Black Americans will be able to sleep safely in their beds at night,” Crump added.
Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was fatally shot by Louisville police as they executed a no-knock warrant at her apartment in 2020.
In a statement, Storms said: “In the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the City of Minneapolis told the public that it was limiting the use of no-knock warrants to ‘limit the likelihood of bad outcomes.’
“Less than two years later, Amir Locke and his family needlessly suffered the worst possible outcome,” he added.
On Thursday, a gloomy Mayor Jacob Frey said the “video raises just about as many questions as it does answers. We intend to get answers as quickly as possible.”
The mayor also reiterated his commitment to enacting police reforms.
“We are dead serious about seeing the necessary changes through, and the necessary changes start with being honest and transparent,” Frey said, according to the Washington Post. “We want to get things right.”
Meanwhile, one of Amir Locke’s cousins said there was nothing violent about the man.
“He was totally the opposite. All he did was crack jokes,” Ervin Locke Jr., 21, told the Star Tribune on Thursday, adding that the man he’s affectionately known all their lives by the nickname C-Mo “was no street person.
“All he was into was music and playing basketball. He stayed to himself,” he added.