Amir Locke’s funeral begins with song and prayer in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Hundreds of people joined in song and prayer Thursday at the funeral of Amir Locke, a 22-year-old black man who was shot by Minneapolis police under a search warrant .

As the service began, those gathered at Shiloh Temple International Ministries were asked to “say his name” and they responded with “Amir Locke.” A large portrait of Locke was displayed in the front of the church, with a white coffin topped with roses and bouquets of flowers nearby. Minnesota Democratic Governor Tim Walz and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter were among those present.

Locke’s death caused an outcry over no-knock warrants, with pressure from his family and others to ban them in Minnesota and beyond.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who has come under scrutiny for the city’s use of such warrants, and Acting Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman were not present. Shiloh Temple Bishop Richard Howell Jr. told the Star Tribune that Frey would not attend without the family’s invitation.

As the service began, hundreds of people sang the hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before Howell led the church in a prayer. Members of the Grammy Award-winning group Sounds of Blackness also performed.

Reverend Al Sharpton was due to deliver the eulogy, at the same church where Daunte Wright is remembered after he was killed by a suburban Minneapolis police officer in April. Sharpton, while presiding over Wright’s funeral days after the young black man was shot by a suburban Minneapolis police officer, denounced “the stench of police brutality.”

Locke was shot by a SWAT team member shortly before 7 a.m. Feb. 2 as officers signed a search warrant in a St. Paul homicide case. Body camera video shows at least four officers using a key to sneak into the downtown apartment where he was staying, then shouting their presence. The video shows Locke, wrapped in a duvet, fidgeting and holding a handgun just before an officer shoots him.

Locke was not named in the warrant and did not live in the apartment. Family members called his killing an “execution”, noting that the video shows an officer kicking the couch and suggested Locke jolted awake and was disoriented. They also pushed back at police saying Locke was shot after pointing his gun at officers.

Frey has placed a moratorium on those terms while the city reviews its policy. The State Bureau of Criminal Arrest is investigating Locke’s shooting.

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Find full AP coverage of Amir Locke’s death at: https://apnews.com/hub/amir-locke

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