Minneapolis city officials have released bodycam footage of Wednesday's deadly encounter between a police officer and a 22-year-old Black man inside a downtown apartment.
According to public information documents, Officer Mark Hanneman fatally shot Amir Rahkare Locke at the Balero Flats apartment building while executing a no-knock warrant.
Amir Locke was Not Even a Suspect
The footage, released on Thursday night, shows Minneapolis police officers entering a city apartment after unlocking it with a key and then bursting through the doorway with their guns drawn yelling "Police! Search warrant!"
The officers then approach a couch on which Locke is wrapped in a blanket. He sits up and turns towards the officers. Locke is holding a gun. In the moments that follow, Officer Mark Hanneman fires three shots and Locke falls to the floor. The shooting is then replayed in super-slow motion. Watch the video below:
Locke was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center where he died. Police say Locke was not named in any search warrants before the entry, and attorneys for the man's family say he was carrying a licensed firearm.
"At this point, it's unclear if or how he (Locke) is connected to St. Paul's investigation," said Interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman during a press conference late Thursday. "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," said Huffman, describing it as a sobering moment.
Authorities Initially Claimed Locke Pointed the Gun at Officers
Huffman said police went to the building just before 7 a.m. on Wednesday as part of a St. Paul Police Department homicide investigation, in which several suspects were identified, as well as three locations in Minneapolis. Huffman said her department's SWAT team was asked to execute warrants on three apartments within the building.
Huffman said both a knock and no-knock warrant were obtained so that the SWAT team could make its best assessment. She said when Officer Hanneman saw Locke holding a gun, he had to make a "split-second decision" on if there was a threat of great bodily harm or death, and to protect himself and his partners. She said his decision would ultimately be examined by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office when it gets the case.
The initial release from authorities said "officers encountered a male who was armed with a handgun pointed in the direction of officers." Hanneman has been placed on administrative leave, as is policy, pending the ongoing investigation, a spokesperson for the City of Minneapolis said. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is now heading the criminal investigation.
Breonna Taylor Shooting
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Locke family, said in a statement, "Locke, who has several family members in law enforcement and no past criminal history, legally possessed a firearm at the time of his death.
"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 said.
Taylor, a 26-year-old ER medical technician, was shot and killed by Louisville officers in her home during a botched police raid in March 2020. A grand jury failed to indict any officers in her death. One officer, Brett Hankison, was indicted for blindly firing into a neighbor's apartment during the shooting. He has pleaded not guilty and trial proceedings are ongoing.
Minneapolis police sparked a wave of protests against police brutality and racial inequality across the country that lasted for months after George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man was killed by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, in May 2020 after he pinned him to the ground with his knee. Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder in April last year.