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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- In the days following a Minneapolis police officer fatally shooting Amir Locke, a Black man, in a downtown apartment building, body camera footage has been released and the family has publicly condemned the shooting. There are plenty of unknowns still remaining.
Here's what we know (and don't know) so far. You can skip to the sections below:
- What Police Say
- Body-Worn Camera Footage
- Medical Examiner Report
- Search Warrants
- Teen Arrested In Homicide Case That Led To Deadly Raid
- Moratorium On No-Knock Warrants
- Locke's Family Condemn Police Shooting
- Protesters Demand Justice
- Investigation/What's Next
WHAT POLICE SAY
Interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman said the department's SWAT team was assisting the St. Paul Police Department's homicide unit at the time as part of an ongoing murder investigation.
Huffman said the SWAT team entered the Bolero Flats apartment building at 11th Street and Marquette Avenue just before 7 a.m. The officers "loudly and repeatedly" announced their entry into an apartment, Huffman said.
Nine seconds into entry, police said, officers encountered a man armed with a handgun that was pointed in the direction of officers. Then, an officer, identified as Mark Hanneman, fired shots and the Locke was struck. He was treated at the scene and transported to Hennepin Healthcare.
The fire incident report revealed that Locke arrived at the hospital with two gunshot wounds to his chest and one in his wrist. One of the wounds in his chest had a compress applied.
Emergency medics determined that he did not have a pulse when he was assessed at the hospital. He was then pronounced deceased.
Police say a handgun was recovered from the apartment, loaded with 5.7 mm rounds. Shortly following the shooting, police released a couple images of the handgun they say was held by Locke.
BODY WORN CAMERA FOOTAGE
Following growing calls for transparency, the City of Minneapolis released a segment of body camera footage Thursday night.
The footage, initially released on the city's YouTube page, is less than a minute long. It shows the same video, or parts of it, at various speeds. At first it's in slow motion, showing police unlocking a door and entering an apartment. Several officers can be heard yelling "police" and "search warrant" as they step through the doorway with guns drawn.
The officers approach a couch on which Locke is wrapped in a blanket. He sits up and turns toward the officers. He is holding a gun. An instant later, an officer fires three shots, and Locke falls to the floor. The shooting is replayed in super-slow motion. The entire video then plays again in real time. In total, Locke is shot roughly 10 seconds after officers open the apartment door.
Locke's family viewed the footage before its public release.
In the George Floyd's murder by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, body camera footage was not released until more than a month later for in-person viewings at Hennepin County District Court. However, partial footage was leaked previously by the Daily Mail in London.
In the fatal police shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, Minneapolis police were criticized due to the fact that the officers had body-worn cameras, but they were turned off at the time of the shooting. Since then, policy has been changed, requiring officers to turn them on for most cases, with a few exceptions, like interviewing sexual assault victims.
MEDICAL EXAMINER REPORT
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office on Friday released the report on Locke's death, saying he died of multiple gunshot wounds.
The examiner classified Locke's death as a homicide, though noted the manner of death is not a legal determination of culpability or intent.
Locke, 22, was first shot at 6:48 a.m. in the Bolero Flats apartments, the examiner's report reads. He died minutes later, at 7:01 a.m. at Hennepin Healthcare.
Sources tell WCCO-TV that Minneapolis police would not serve the search warrant that ended in the death of Amir Locke unless it was a "no-knock" warrant.
St. Paul police originally asked for a "knock-and-announce warrant," but only went back to get the "no-knock" warrant after Minneapolis police said they would not serve the first one, the sources said.
On Friday, St. Paul police also confirmed that the search warrants in the incident were signed by a Hennepin County judge and will remain sealed until a court determines otherwise, as is standard practice in homicide investigations and per Minnesota law.
Two WCCO sources later confirmed that it was Peter Cahill, the judge who presided over the Derek Chauvin trial, who signed off on the "no-knock" search warrant.
What was released Friday, however, was the search warrant requested by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension following the fatal shooting. It shows what evidence the BCA requested and obtained inside the downtown apartment as part of the BCA's investigation into the shooting.
Among the property and items requested were forensic evidence, trace or microscopic evidence, permission to fully document the scene, clothing, firearms, ammunition and more.
The BCA's search warrant then lists what evidence was collected, including:
- Bullet cartridges from a FC 9mm Luger
- A cardboard box "containing evidence classified as a pistol"
- Bloodstain evidence
- Apparent teeth
- A comforter, pillow and pants
According to the BCA, Minneapolis police officers were assisting St. Paul police with the execution of a search warrant at the Bolero Flats Apartment Building.
The search warrant that brought officers to the apartment has yet to be released. WCCO will update when it is released.
Police have said the search warrants were in connection to a homicide in St. Paul. Huffman said both a knock and no-knock warrant were obtained so that the SWAT team could make its best assessment. Attorney Ben Crump (mentioned below) has said that St. Paul police did not request a no-knock warrant, and Minneapolis police "insisted" on one. WCCO is looking into that and will update when available.
TEEN ARRESTED IN CASE THAT LED TO LOCKE'S SHOOTING DEATH
A source from the St. Paul Police Department tells WCCO that they have arrested a homicide suspect from the case that ultimately led to the death of Locke.
Police say that they arrested the suspect, who is 17 years old, in Winona Monday afternoon. The Winona Police Chief has confirmed that his agency assisted St. Paul police.
Prosecutors are petitioning for the 17-year-old — identified as Mekhi Camden Speed, of Minneapolis — to be tried as an adult. He is expected to make his first appearance at the Ramsey County Juvenile and Family Justice Center Tuesday afternoon.
The charging documents against the suspect indicate that he was Locke's cousin.
MORATORIUM ON NO-KNOCK WARRANTS
Mayor Jacob Frey on Friday imposed a moratorium on both the request and execution of no-knock warrants in Minneapolis.
"No matter what information comes to light, it won't change the fact that Amir Locke's life was cut short," Frey said, in a statement. "To ensure safety of both the public and officers until a new policy is crafted, I'm issuing a moratorium on both the request and execution of such warrants in Minneapolis."
Also in the mayor's statement, Frey said that the leadership of the Minneapolis Police Department will work with national experts DeRay McKesson and Dr. Pete Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University to review and suggest revisions to the department's policy on no-knock warrants.
It's important to note that no-knock warrants are still possible if there's an "imminent threat of harm to an individual or public," and the warrant must be approved by the chief of police, the mayor's office said.
Minneapolis City Council's oversight committee held a discussion on no-knock policies Monday, and they will have guests.
FAMILY SPEAKS OUT, CONDEMN SHOOTING
Locke's mother, Karen Michelle Wells, and his father, Andrew Locke Sr. spoke in a virtual press conference alongside attorney Ben Crump Friday morning.
Both of his parents demanded justice in the fatal shooting, saying that Amir Locke did everything right.
"He was covered. He was asleep on his stomach. He was startled. And they took his life. He did what any reasonable, law-abiding citizen would do," his father said.
Wells said her son was "loved by all, hated by none." She demanded that the officer be prosecuted and fired. Parents, Crump and community leaders held an emotional in-person press conference later in the day, too.
Crump represented George Floyd following his May 2020 murder at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is currently serving a two-decade sentence in Floyd's death. Crump also represented Daunte Wright's family. Wright was shot and killed by a Brooklyn Center police officer, Kim Potter, who was convicted of manslaughter.
PROTESTERS DEMAND JUSTICE
Thousands gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center Saturday and marched to honor Locke's life.
Then, on Sunday evening, demonstrators traveled through Minneapolis in a car caravan. The caravan eventually stopped outside of a home near Lake of the Isles that is believed to belong to the interim police chief. No one reportedly came out of the residence.
As in Saturday's protest in downtown Minneapolis, which drew thousands, demonstrators are asking for three things: They want Officer Mark Hanneman, who fatally shot Locke, to be fired and criminally charged; for Interim Police Chief Huffman to be fired; and for Mayor Jacob Frey to resign.
The Minnesota BCA is investigating the police shooting, while St. Paul's homicide investigation remains ongoing. As mentioned above, the search warrants initially filed to enter the apartment are under seal until a court determines otherwise, per standard practice and Minnesota law.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will work with the Hennepin County Attorney's Office to review the police shooting and potential charges.
"I promise the Locke family and all Minnesotans that we will work with the Hennepin County Attorney's Office to conduct a fair and thorough review of the BCA investigation and that we will be guided by the values of accountability and transparency," Ellison said in a statement. "To protect the integrity of the investigation, only limited informational statements will be released until the conclusion of the investigation."
BCA officials say they will have additional information once any initial interviews/statements from incident participants and witnesses are completed.
Gov. Tim Walz announced that he has activated the Minnesota National Guard to provide public safety assistance in the federal trial over George Floyd's death, and troops will be in standby mode should Minneapolis request support following Locke's death.
WCCO is closely following this incident and will have the latest information as it becomes available.
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