Protesters take to Minneapolis streets after shooting of Amir Locke; father says, ‘We’re not police bashers’

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Downtown Minneapolis was the scene of mass protests Saturday, as a thousand people gathered in the streets to speak out against the police shooting of Amir Locke during a no-knock raid.

Locke was asleep on a couch Wednesday, wrapped in a blanket, at 6:48 a.m., when SWAT burst through the door yelling, “Police! Get on the Ground!”

Police body-cam footage, released Thursday, shows that within seconds Locke was dead, shot multiple times by the officers, who were serving a warrant for the St. Paul Police Department’s homicide unit.

Police pointed out that Locke had a gun in his hand, though the body-cam video appears to show that Locke was not pointing it at what he likely perceived to be intruders and his finger was not on the trigger. Locke legally owned the weapon and had a permit to carry the gun.

He was not named on the warrant, according to Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman.

In a news conference Thursday, Huffman said the officer who shot Locke, Mark Hanneman, had only a split second to act.

“The still shot shows the image of the firearm in the subject’s hands, at the best possible moment when the lighting was fully on him,” Huffman said. “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,” she said.

This tragic incident and the ensuing protests have been covered in detail on Twitter.

When the body-cam footage was finally released, it evoked painful memories of Breonna Taylor, who was also fatally shot by police during a no-knock raid.

“As #BreonnaTaylor showed us, no-knock warrants have deadly consequences for innocent law-abiding Black people!” tweeted National Law Firm founder and civil rights activist, Ben Crump.

Friday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey responded by issuing a moratorium on both requesting and executing no-knock warrants.

“No matter what information comes to light, it won’t change the fact that Amir Locke’s life was cut short. To ensure safety on both the public and officers until a new policy is crafted, I’m issuing a moratorium on both the request and execution of such warrants in Minneapolis,” Frey said.

But on Twitter, many pointed out that they’ve heard this talk from Frey in the past. “The Police continued business as usual,” writes one user.

And it is these kinds of broken promises and tragic outcomes that brought so many out to protest in the cold.

Journalist Sergio Olmos covered the protests on Twitter in real time, including the heart-wrenching comments from Locke’s father, Andre, who said his son “was responsible,” adding, “He didn’t deserve to have his life taken from him the way that it was.”

“Why couldn’t my son bury me?” he asked.

The march of protesters stretched a city block in 21-degree temperatures.

As night fell, protesters took a page from Canada’s truckers and formed a convoy, complete with honking horns.

Andre Locke asked that his son be remembered with 22 days of peace.

“Because we aren’t police bashers,” he stressed, but stated the “bad seeds” from the city’s police force need to be removed.


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