(The Center Square) – Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced they won’t press charges against the police officer who fatally shot 22-year-old Amir Locke during a pre-dawn no-knock raid.
The two said in a joint statement: “Amir Locke’s life mattered. He was a young man with plans to move to Dallas, where he would be closer to his mom and – he hoped – build a career as a hip-hop artist, following in the musical footsteps of his father.”
“He should be alive today, and his death is a tragedy. Amir Locke was not a suspect in the underlying Saint Paul criminal investigation nor was he named in the search warrants. Amir Locke is a victim. This tragedy may not have occurred absent the no-knock warrant used in this case.”
On Feb. 2, 2022, at 6:47 a.m., police executed a search warrant in a homicide investigation and entered a Minneapolis apartment with a key.
Police shouted: “Police, search warrant! Hands! Get on the ground!” and kicked a couch, where Locke stirred from under a thick white blanket with a gun. Then an officer shot Locke three times. Nine seconds passed from officers entering the apartment to firing. Locke died 13 minutes later.
Police released body camera footage after the shooting.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and Minnesota Attorney General’s Office released a 44-page report saying “there is insufficient admissible evidence to file criminal charges” because Minnesota law authorizes officers used deadly force when facing a minimum threat of bodily harm or death. While Locke was startled and awakened from sleep, he did point a firearm at the officers, experts said in the report.
“Nor would the State be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a criminal charge against any other officer involved in the decision-making that led to the death of Amir Locke,” the report said.
The report said Locke wasn’t a suspect or mentioned in the warrant, but his cousin was. After the shooting, the city called Locke a “suspect” in a press release.
In a news conference, Locke’s mother, Karen Wells, said that spiking violent crime pushed Locke to carry a gun for protection legally.
“My son was protecting himself, thinking he had to protect himself from all the crime that is out of control, Mayor Frey, the mayor of Minneapolis, that you can’t control,” she said. “So my son decided that if he’s going to go back and forth and do Instacart and DoorDash, he needed to bear arms, the legal way.”
Locke’s family has hired attorney Ben Crump, who won a record $27 million wrongful death settlement from Minneapolis for George Floyd’s family. Crump, joined by Rev. Al Sharpton, said they will pursue a federal investigation into no-knock warrants and this case.
“This is not over…. We will fight with this family to get federal investigation on this case,” Sharpton said.
Wells said she was “disgusted” by the decision.