Updated Feb 4, 2022 - News

Minnesota attorney general to review police shooting of Amir Locke

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announces charges in death of George Floyd.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announces charges against three Minneapolis officers in the death of George Floyd on June 3, 2020 in St. Paul. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will review the death of a man who was shot by Minneapolis police inside a downtown apartment building Wednesday.

Driving the news: The Hennepin County Attorney's Office announced Friday that Ellison has agreed to join the probe into the fatal police shooting of 22-year-old Amir Locke, shortly after Minneapolis released body camera footage in the case.

The big picture: The shooting, which occurred just miles from where George Floyd was murdered by an officer in May 2020, has fueled fresh calls for accountability and transparency from the Minneapolis Police Department.

What's new: Minneapolis released a 55-second clip showing the shooting at two speeds Thursday night, following mounting calls to make the footage public.

  • "This video raises about as many questions as it answers," Mayor Jacob Frey said at a news conference. "We intend to get answers as quickly as possible."

Context: Police shot and killed Locke, who is Black, while conducting a no-knock search warrant related to a St. Paul murder investigation early Wednesday.

  • Police initially identified Locke as a "suspect" in a news release, but have since said he was not named on the search warrant. It was unclear Friday what, if any, connection he had to the investigation in St. Paul.

What the video shows: A SWAT team enters the apartment with a key then announces themselves by yelling "police search warrant." Seconds later, they encounter Locke under a blanket on a couch.

  • As Locke begins to move, a gun can be seen in his hand coming out of the blanket. An officer, identified by the city as Mark Hanneman, fires three shots.

What they're saying: Interim MPD chief Amelia Huffman said the officer saw the gun and had to make a "split-second decision."

  • Huffman said the gun was pointed at an officer out of the video frame as Locke emerged from the blanket. The footage and a still image appear to show the gun pointing down toward the couch.

Of note: Locke had a license to carry a firearm, attorney Ben Crump, who's representing Locke's family, said in a statement.

The response: The shooting reignited debate over no-knock warrants, which the city moved to restrict the use of in November 2020, with top state and local officials, as well as the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, calling for changes to the practice.

  • On Friday, Frey announced a temporary moratorium on the use of no-knock warrants "to ensure safety of both the public and officers until a new policy is crafted."

What's next: Ellison and the Hennepin County Attorney's Office will review the case and decide whether to pursue charges against the officer.

  • Frey said the city has enlisted experts DeRay McKesson and Pete Kraska, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University, to come up with a new policy on the warrants.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Twin Cities.

More Twin Cities stories