Family members of Amir Locke, who was killed by police during a no-knock raid in downtown Minneapolis last year, filed a lawsuit against the city and the officer involved in his death, their attorneys said Friday.
In February 2022, Officer Mark Hanneman shot Locke three times less than 10 seconds after Minneapolis Police Department officers entered an apartment where Locke, 22, was sleeping on a couch. Officers were carrying out a search warrant as part of a homicide investigation, but Locke was not listed on the warrant, police said after the shooting.
Locke’s death sparked renewed criticism of no-knock search warrants and calls for Hanneman to be charged. Prosecutors later said there was not enough evidence to file criminal charges against him.
“The City of Minneapolis, as we’ve seen clearly and painfully in recent years, has a history of using excessive and unjustified force, particularly against Black men,” said family attorney Ben Crump. “Amir Locke should not have died one year ago, and we will use this lawsuit to fight for justice and for much-needed change in the way Minneapolis trains its officers.”
What does the lawsuit say?
The lawsuit, brought by Locke’s parents, Karen Wells and Andre Locke, claims Locke was deprived of his constitutional rights and outlines systemic issues with the department’s training, policies and procedures.
The suit also asks for an appointee to ensure the city “properly trains and supervises its police officers,” according to a press release from Crump.
“The City will review the Complaint when it receives it,” city spokesman Casper Hill said in an email.
What happened during the shooting?
Officers opened the door to an apartment and began shouting commands as they entered, body camera footage showed.
Locke rises from the couch wrapped in a blanket and holding a gun, which his parents said he legally owned, with his finger off the trigger, according to the footage. Police fire three shots and the video ends. Locke died at a hospital.
“Amir, like many Americans, had a handgun within his reach while he slept. Even half-asleep, while Amir reached for the handgun, he demonstrated proper and responsible handling by keeping the handgun pointed away from the officers and keeping his finger off the trigger. Amir never raised the weapon in the direction of any officer or placed his finger on the trigger,” the complaint said.
The footage was made public after several state lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and community activists called for police and Mayor Jacob Frey to release it.
Locke did not live in the apartment where he was killed. Police were searching for suspects connected to the shooting of Otis Elder in January in nearby St. Paul. Locke’s cousin and another teenager were later charged in connection with that case.
Contact Breaking News Reporter N’dea Yancey-Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @NdeaYanceyBragg
Contributing: The Associated Press