Minneapolis police video shows officer killing gunman on couch

The Minneapolis Police Department released body camera footage from its SWAT team on Thursday fatally shooting a man lying on a couch under a blanket when officers entered an apartment to execute a warrant before 7 a.m.

The man, Amir Locke, 22, had a gun in his hand, shows the video, but it is unclear whether he was aware that police had entered the apartment.

The brief, graphic video shows an officer quietly turning a key in the apartment door before several officers entered and began shouting.

“Hands, hands!” an officer is heard shouting in the video.

“Go to the field!” shouts another.

An officer kicked the back of the sofa, shaking Mr. Locke and exposing a gun. Police fired at least three times in response.

The entire encounter took less than 10 seconds.

In a news release issued the day of the shooting, the police department said officers provided emergency assistance to Mr Locke, who died at a nearby hospital.

The SWAT team had executed a warrant Wednesday morning for the Saint Paul Police Department Homicide Unit. The Minneapolis Police Department released the body camera video and related documents Thursday evening.

“I’m under no illusions that processing this video will be easy,” Amelia Huffman, the city’s acting police chief, said at a news conference. ” This will not be the case. It shouldn’t be. These are heartbreaking videos to watch. It’s painful, but it’s necessary.

Chief Huffman said officers had a warrant for three locations in the apartment complex and Mr Locke was not named in the original warrant.

Ben Crump, an attorney representing Mr. Locke’s family, compared the murder of Mr. Locke, who was black, to the murder of Breonna Taylor, a black medical worker who was shot dead by Louisville police officers in March 2020 during a a botched raid on his apartment.

“The tragic murder of Amir Locke shows a series of no-knock warrants with deadly consequences for black Americans,” Mr. Crump said. said in a press release. “This is yet another example of why we need to end these kinds of search warrants so that one day black Americans can sleep safely in their beds at night.”

Jeff Storms, another lawyer representing Mr Locke’s family, said Mr Locke and his family had “unnecessarily suffered the worst possible outcome”.

“Our city needs to do better,” Mr. Storms said.

The Minneapolis Police Department has been under surveillance since Officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, by holding his knee to Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest in May 2020.

Mr Floyd’s death sparked widespread outrage and protests across the country that summer called for social justice and police reform. An attempt to change the police in Minneapolis failed in November, when 56% of voters rejected a ballot measure that would have replaced the city’s police department with a public safety agency.

The release of footage of Mr Locke’s death came faster than in the past, and after pressure from Representative Ilhan Omar and state officials.

Ten members of the Minneapolis delegation from the state House of Representatives had called for the footage to be released immediately in a letter to Mayor Jacob Frey and Chief Huffman.

“Minneapolis has a long road ahead of us to build a trusting, effective and professional relationship between its police department and the community,” the representatives wrote. “Increasing transparency around this tragic situation will be an important step in this journey.”

The police department said in a statement that an officer shot Mr Locke, and it released officer Mark Hanneman’s personnel file. The state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting.

“Our city has been through a lot,” Mayor Frey said. “It’s something I struggle with every day, and I know people in our town have it too.”

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