Sharpton: Without a warrant, Locke would be alive

By Mohamed Ibrahim and Amy Forliti | The Associated Press

Andre Locke, father of Amir Locke, speaks during Amir Locke’s funeral at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Locke was killed Feb. 2 by Minneapolis police as they executed a search without a hit. to guarantee. (AP Photo/Nicole Neri)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Reverend Al Sharpton told the hundreds of people gathered Thursday to by Amir Locke funeral that the 22-year-old black man would still be alive if Minneapolis had banned no-knock warrants.

Sharpton was among several speakers who paid tribute to Locke and other black people who died in encounters with police. In addition to song and prayer, the service at Shiloh Temple International Ministries included strong condemnations of racism in the police and outright calls for change.

“Amir was guilty of nothing but being young and black in America,” Sharpton said. He said if Minneapolis had banned no-knock warrants “we wouldn’t be at a funeral this morning.”

Sharpton also noted that February is Black History Month and he spoke about the history of slavery, detailing how slaves had their names taken away and were forced to take their masters’ names. He said black people have too long been viewed as “nameless suspects.”

“Enough is enough. We will no longer be your anonymous suspects,” Sharpton said, to cheers from the crowd.

Earlier in the service, those attending the funeral were asked to “say his name.” They answered: “Amir Locke”.

Locke’s aunt, Linda Tyler, spoke out against racism in the police and demanded that officers stop talking about the need for additional training and instead start using de-escalation techniques on whites and blacks.

“If it’s something you just can’t do, we’re just asking you to quit today instead of quitting another sibling at their grave,” she said. She also said she didn’t want to hear about how hard policing is.

“If you think being a police officer is a difficult profession, try being a black man,” she said, to cheers from the crowd.

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 has caused an outcry over no-knock warrantswith 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 before the service that Frey would not attend without the family’s invitation.

As the service began, hundreds sang the hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before Howell led the church in prayer. Members of the Grammy Award-winning group Sounds of Blackness also performed. Later, they sang their song “Black Lives Matter”.

The service was held 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, decried “the stench of police brutality”.

Locke was shot by a member of the SWAT team shortly before 7 a.m. on February 2 while officers served a no hit search warrant in a homicide case in St. Paul. Body cam 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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