Center for Policing Equity on the Tragic Shooting Death of Amir Locke

February 5, 2022

Center for Policing Equity -  

New Haven, CT - Authorities in Minnesota may prosecute a SWAT officer in Wednesday’s tragic shooting death of 22-year old Amir Locke, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced. Freeman’s office will partner with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to review the incident, after which they will jointly determine, “based on the law and evidence, whether criminal charges should be brought,” Freeman said in a statement released early on Friday.

Our condolences go to Locke’s family, loved ones, and the St. Paul-Minneapolis community that has borne the brunt of so much trauma. 

Body camera footage shows the SWAT team executing a no-knock warrant at 6:48 a.m. It is not clear from the angle of the provided body cam footage if Locke–who was not named in the warrant and had no criminal record–is pointing a gun at the officers as stated in the Minneapolis Police Department’s original statement on the shooting

Locke’s family has said he had a permit for the firearm. They described him as an aspiring musician, entrepreneur, and respectful of law enforcement. It’s easy to find parallels between Locke’s death and the murder of Breonna Taylor, who officers shot and killed in her home in March 2020 in the middle of the night during a no-knock warrant. 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced a moratorium on no-knock warrants as a result of this shooting–though like the policy change 14 months ago, it still allows for certain no-knock warrants. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, also called for changes in the way search warrants are executed in the state. 

But for communities across the country, it once again feels like too little too late. Unsurprisingly, Black communities in the Twin Cities have begun protesting to demand action in the wake of Locke’s killing–massing outside the Bolero Flats apartment building where Locke was killed. We stand with those who are grieving and fighting for justice since Locke’s heartbreaking death, and with those exercising their constitutional rights by continuing to call for action in the Twin Cities and across the country. And we remain steadfast in our commitment to redesigning public safety, which includes changing antiquated laws such as no-knock warrants that can lead to unnecessary violence and tragic loss of life.

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About Center for Policing Equity: As a research and action organization, Center for Policing Equity (CPE) produces analyses identifying and reducing the causes of racial disparities in law enforcement. Using evidence-based approaches to social justice, we use data to create levers for social, cultural and policy change. Center for Policing Equity also holds a 501(c)3 status.