Originally published on Feb. 4, 2022
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A gun rights advocacy group on Friday called for an independent investigation into Amir Locke's killing by a Minneapolis police officer, after learning that Locke was a lawful gun owner at the time of his death.
The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, an organization that pushes for protections for Minnesotans' right to keep and bear arms, released a statement condemning the use of no-knock warrants, like the one executed at the apartment where he was killed, and said his death was "completely avoidable."
Amir Locke had a permit to carry a gun, his family said, and no criminal record in Minnesota.
In an interview, Rob Doar, the group's vice president, emphasized that individuals have the right to self-defense within your home or "whatever dwelling you happen to be residing in."
"Amir Locke had permit to carry, which isn't required to carry in your own home, but it just goes to show that he was in fact a law-abiding citizen and not prohibited from possessing firearms, so any citizens could have ended up in this situation," he said.
Doar warned that no-knock warrants are risky, especially since he said gun ownership soared to record levels last year. Ben Crump, the Locke family attorney who also represented George Floyd's family, thanked the Minnesota Gun Caucus for its support on Friday.
"So now every day we're entering into a situation where law enforcement officers are or may encounter somebody who is lawfully armed inside their home," Doar said. "The use of no-knock warrants is counteractive to that right to self-defense."
It's not the first time the group has spoken out when there's been a deadly encounter with law enforcement. The Gun Owners Caucus said Philando Castile acted responsibly when he told an officer he had a gun on him before he was killed during a traffic stop in 2016.
Community Members Demand More Transparency
Pain is palpable among Minneapolis residents outraged over the police killing of Amir Locke, demanding answers about how it could've happened—that Locke lost his life during the execution of a search warrant in which he wasn't even named, according to Minneapolis Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman.
"How did nine seconds of a search warrant end up with a man's life?" questioned Al Flowers Jr. at a news conference at a church in south Minneapolis.
Rev. Ian Bethel said that Huffman met with the group Unity Community Mediation Team on Thursday morning, a day following the deadly shooting. He said he appreciated that effort, but there needs to be more accountability and transparency.
"This city of Minneapolis needs to wake up and come to realization that we are in trauma," he said. "A young man questioned about why he's laying there with a gun—that's because we're in trauma. That's evidence of trauma."
This follows civil rights attorney and community activist Nikema Levy Armstrong emotionally interrupting an official news conference from MPD and Mayor Jacob Frey on Thursday, criticizing them for "white-washing" Locke's killing.
"People are asking very simply questions that have still not been answered," she said. "I can't tolerate the white-washing."
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