Updated Apr 6, 2022 - News

Minnesota prosecutors won't file charges in police shooting of Amir Locke

amir locke protest

Protesters demonstrating in Minneapolis in February. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

The Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot a 22-year-old man during an early morning raid on an apartment building in February won't face criminal charges, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

The big picture: Amir Locke's death reignited the debate over the use of no-knock search warrants in Minnesota and sparked fresh scrutiny into the Minneapolis Police Department.

Behind the decision: Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a joint statement that while Locke "should be alive today, and his death is a tragedy," there was not "sufficient admissible evidence" to pursue criminal charges.

  • After reviewing the case, prosecutors determined that they couldn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that officer Mark Hanneman ran afoul of state law authorizing use of deadly force in the line of duty, the statement adds.

Flashback: Locke was shot and killed seconds after an MPD SWAT team conducting a search warrant connected to a St. Paul murder investigation entered a downtown Minneapolis apartment and encountered him lying under a blanket on the couch.

  • Video suggested Locke, who was not a suspect in the investigation, was asleep before the raid.
  • MPD's interim chief has said that officers made a "split-second" decision upon seeing a gun in his hand.

What they're saying: Karen Wells, Amir Locke's mother, blasted the decision, saying she was "disgusted" with the city of Minneapolis. She pledged to continue to fight for justice on behalf of her son.

What to watch: A new policy prohibiting no-knock warrants in Minneapolis in most cases takes effect Friday. State and federal legislation addressing the issue has also been proposed.

  • In their statement, Ellison and Freeman called on policymakers at all levels of government to "seriously weigh the benefits of no-knock warrants, which are dangerous for both law enforcement and the public alike."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to add a comment from Locke's mother, Karen Wells.


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