On 1st anniversary of Amir Locke's death, family and activists gather at Capitol to call for change
ST. PAUL, Minn. – On the anniversary of the death of Amir Locke, his family was joined by activists inside the Minnesota State Capitol, renewing their calls for justice and change.
The 22-year-old man was shot and killed during a no-knock raid inside a downtown apartment.
"There's not a day that goes by that I don't say my son's name, I don't have a conversation with Amir, I don't look at his pictures," said Karen Wells, Locke's mother. "At the end of the day, I will not shut up. I'm not going nowhere. You came for our son, you came for me. Karen Wells is here to let you know Amir was a rock. Amir was my baby boy."
Locke's death prompted calls for a rehaul in search warrant application and execution in the city, including the ban on no-knock warrants. Now Locke's family wants to see the policy enacted statewide, and eventually nationwide.
Activists say they pushed for a statewide ban after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020, but say the actions taken in 2021 by lawmakers were watered down and ineffective.
"Should send chills down our spine that an innocent person could be shot and killed in their home while waking up from sleeping on the couch or laying in their bed," said Jonathan McClellan with the Minnesota Justice Coalition.
Michelle Gross is the founder of Communities United Against Police Brutality.
"'Everybody's running for office now and we don't want the Democrats to look like they're anti-police,'" Gross says one lawmaker told her. "A pox on both houses if you can't get your act together and give us the legislation we need, pass the bills that we need so that everybody is safe. Not just white folks in this state, but everybody is safe."
Wells says if no action is taken this year, she might take action next year to ensure changes are made.
"We're not asking you, we're not begging you, we are telling you – do your damn jobs in the Twin Cities. Get it done. Because if you don't, I ain't got nothing but time on my hands. I might even run next year, who knows. I might have to come up here and clean up the mess," she told the crowd to applause.
Attorneys with Locke's family are also expected to announce a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis on Friday morning.
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