CPE on the Decision to Not File Criminal Charges in the Fatal Police Shooting of Amir Locke

April 7, 2022

Center for Policing Equity -  

New Haven, CT – Today, the Center for Policing Equity released the following statement regarding the decision of the Minnesota Attorney General and Hennepin County Attorney not to file criminal charges in connection with the fatal police shooting of Amir Locke:

The offices of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman issued a joint statement on Wednesday announcing that they will not be filing criminal charges against Minneapolis Police Department SWAT team Officer Mark Hanneman, who shot and killed Amir Locke in the course of executing a no-knock warrant in the early morning hours of Feb 2, 2022. Locke – who had been asleep on the couch – had no role in the related investigation. 

The Center for Policing Equity (CPE) agrees with Ellison and Freeman that Locke "should be alive today and his death is a tragedy…. Amir Locke is a victim. This tragedy may not have occurred absent the no-knock warrant used in this case."

However, we are disappointed with their conclusion that the State of Minnesota "would be unable to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements of Minnesota’s use-of-deadly-force statute that authorizes the use of force by Officer Hanneman. 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.”

Justice cannot be sought in a case of unjust killing, but we can and must seek accountability. Amir Locke's case reflects the far-reaching failure of our criminal legal systems to protect and provide redress to the vulnerable, and compounds generations of trauma caused by police violence in Black communities.

As the world saw following the similar 2020 police killing of Breonna Taylor and again this past February, no-knock warrants lead far too easily to violence, tragic loss of life, and trauma for the local community. CPE agrees with Ellison and Freeman that "any time law enforcement interacts with the public, all parties should be able to go home safely." 

CPE stands with those mourning Amir Locke who must now also face the grim deficiencies of our legal systems. We remain steadfast in our dedication to redesigning public safety so that these  types of killings become a thing of the past, working toward the day that everyone will, in fact, be able to go home safely.

###

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.