Minneapolis, MN – Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has released bodycam footage that captured the moment when a suspect pointed a gun at police on Wednesday as they were executing a warrant in connection with a homicide investigation (video below).
The incident occurred at 1117 South Marquette Avenue 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.
Bodycam footage released Thursday showed an officer unlocking the apartment door just before the officers “loudly and repeatedly announced their presence” and entered the apartment, the MPD said in a news release.
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 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.
“Ultimately, that decision, whether that threshold was met will be examined by the county attorney’s office that reviews this case,” she added.
MPD Officer Mark Hanneman, a seven-year veteran of the department, was later identified as the officer who shot the armed suspect, KMSP reported.
“Officers immediately provided emergency aid and carried the suspect down to the lobby to meet paramedics,” the MPD said in the press release.
The suspect was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he succumbed to his wounds.
He was later identified as 22-year-old Amir Locke, KMSP reported.
According to a Minneapolis Fire Department incident report, Locke was shot once in the right wrist and twice in the chest, according to KSTP.
The Locke family’s attorneys, Jeff Storms and Ben Crump, said Locke was not named in the search warrant and legally possessed the gun he pointed at police, KMSP reported.
Neither of those factors are relevant in determining if the officer’s shooting of Locke was legal.
“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,” Crump wrote in a statement, according to KMSP.
“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,” he continued. “We will continue pushing for answers in this case so that Amir’s grieving family can get the closure they deserve.”
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.
“More information will be coming as St. Paul digs further into the case,” she added.
Minneapolis Ward 10 City Councilwoman Aisha Chughtai declared the shooting of Locke to be a murder by police.
The murder of yet another young Black man, Amir Locke, at the hands of Minneapolis Police Department yesterday is a reminder that nothing has changed. This was a horrific and preventable tragedy. I am sending peace and care to Amir’s loved ones.
— Aisha Chughtai (@aishaforward10) February 4, 2022
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is handling the ongoing investigation into the fatal officer-involved shooting, KSTP reported.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends who loved the man who lost his life today and with the community because these events are a wrenching loss,” Chief Huffman said. “They’re traumatic not only for those who knew him but everyone who lives in Minneapolis and for the officers who were on the scene as well.”
Protesters and activists denounced the MPD’s actions and said they used excessive force while executing the “no-knock warrant,” KSTP reported.
They’ve demanded Officer Hanneman be arrested and charged with murder, according to WCCO.
“[Locke] was in his apartment minding his own business at 6:30 in the morning when many of us are still in our bed sleeping,” Communities Against Police Brutality President Michelle Gross declared. “It was appalling to me that you cannot sleep in your own home without police coming in on a no-knock warrant.”
Minneapolis activist Toussaint Morrison called the operation “reckless” and said the MPD’s SWAT team is like a group of “deputized cowboys shooting wherever they want,” KSTP reported.
Civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong said the MPD shouldn’t have even been helping the SPPD with its homicide case in the first place and argued the SPPD should “carry out its own dirty work.”
“We have no information from [St. Paul police] about what this warrant even consisted of and why it was so urgent to bust into somebody’s apartment in the wee hours of the morning,” Levy Armstrong complained.
Frey and Chief Huffman held a press conference after releasing the bodycam footage Thursday night, but ended up walking out after being accosted by activists, KMSP reported.
“How is walking out of a press conference transparency?” one protester screamed as the police chief and the mayor left the room. “You are a murderer!”
“You owe us answers!” another person yelled out.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content and Obscene Language: