Minneapolis, MN – Prosecutors announced on Wednesday that the officer who fatally shot 22-year-old Amir Locke while executing a “no knock” warrant in search of his younger cousin will not be criminally charged.
Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison released a joint statement on April 6, NBC News reported.
The officials said they had conducted a “thorough review” and determined “there is insufficient admissible evidence to file criminal charges in this case.”
Freeman and Ellison said they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Minneapolis Police Officer Mark Hanneman violated the state’s use-of-deadly force statute that authorizes officers to use such force, NBC News reported.
The prosecutors criticized the use of a “no knock” warrant but said they could find no criminal wrongdoing against Officer Hanneman or any of the other officers involved in the decision-making that led to the officer-involved shooting of Locke.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) completed its investigation into Locke’s fatal shooting in the end of March and sent the report to prosecutors.
Locke was killed on the seventh floor of the Bolero Flats apartment building at approximately 6:48 a.m. on Feb. 2, KSTP reported.
According to Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Interim Chief Amelia Huffman, an eight-person MPD SWAT team was executing the warrant in connection with a St. Paul Police Department (SPPD) homicide investigation that involved Locke’s younger cousin.
They continued announcing themselves as they made their way into the living room area towards a couch, where a figure could be seen moving beneath a white blanket.
One officer kicked the couch and ordered the suspect to get onto the ground.
That’s when the suspect – later identified as the 22-year-old Locke – pointed a handgun in another officers’ direction, resulting in the officer firing at him multiple times, according to the press release.
“That’s the moment when 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,” Chief Huffman said, according to Bring Me The News.
Police arrested Locke’s 17-year-old cousin, Mehki Camden Speed, for murder five days later.
Officials said officers were trying to serve a warrant on Speed when Locke pointed a gun at police and was killed.
Locke was not named in the search warrant, and Chief Huffman said investigators are still looking into “if or how Mr. Locke is connected” to the homicide case in St. Paul, Bring Me The News reported.
Charging documents indicated that police executed search warrants on three different apartments in Bolero Flats, searching for Speed, the night that Locke was fatally shot, WCCO reported.
Speed was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the investigation of the Jan. 10 shooting death of Otis Elder in the 500-block of North Prior Avenue in St. Paul.
Police said Speed’s fingerprint had been found on a stolen silver Mercedes Benz that was reportedly used in multiple armed robberies last fall before it was dumped on a parking ramp in Minneapolis.
Officers tried to track down Speed through his probation officer and his mother before ultimately finding him in Winona, WCCO reported.
Speed tried to flee but was apprehended and arrested.
Police said he had a loaded gun in his jacket, and that it appeared to be the same jacket he was wearing in the surveillance video that showed him shooting Elder.
Protests erupted in Minneapolis after Locke was killed and activists demanded that charges be filed against Officer Hanneman.