A screen capture of a police body camera video shows the Minneapolis SWAT team enter an apartment where police fatally shot 22-year-old Amir Locke on Wednesday. Credit: Courtesy of Minneapolis Police Department

To continue reading this article and others for free, please sign up for our newsletter.

Sahan Journal publishes deep, reported news for and with immigrants and communities of color—the kind of stories you won’t find anywhere else.

Unlock our in-depth reporting by signing up for our free newsletter.

Support local nonprofit journalism that works for you.

Our community-based reporting is made possible by readers just like you. Become a supporter of your local nonprofit news organization today with a tax-deductible donation so we can continue doing the reporting that matters to you.

$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

This story comes to you from MPR News, a partner with Sahan Journal. We will be sharing stories between SahanJournal.com and MPRNews.org.

Body camera footage of Wednesday’s fatal shooting of Amir Locke by Minneapolis police inside a downtown apartment shows a SWAT team entering the apartment with a key, without knocking, shouting “police search warrant” several times as officers enter and then quickly approach a couch with a figure wrapped in a blanket.

An officer kicks the couch. Police can be heard yelling “get on the ground” and “show me your hands.” Locke, 22, can been seen stirring from the blanket and then holding a gun as he starts to move, just before he is shot about nine seconds after the police enter.

“This video raises about as many questions as it answers,” Mayor Jacob Frey told reporters following the release of the footage late Thursday. “We intend to get answers as quickly as possible.”

The search warrant was tied to a St. Paul homicide investigation. Locke was not named in the search warrant and it’s not clear if he figures into the St. Paul case, Amelia Huffman, the interim Minneapolis police chief, said after the video’s release.

Warning: The video contains graphic content and profanity.

The footage released by the city shows the incident at slow, very slow, and normal speeds, from the time officers enter to when one officer fires three shots in rapid succession, before the video abruptly stops.

Its release came as pressure mounted on Frey to make it public. The mayor had insisted that Locke’s family be allowed to watch the video before it was publicly released. He said the family saw the video earlier in the day Thursday.

The shooting happened shortly before 7 a.m. Wednesday. Minneapolis SWAT team members entered the apartment in a building across the street from Orchestra Hall.

A later statement by the department alleged that the man pointed the gun in the direction of police. Huffman stood by that on Thursday, although the video released isn’t clear on whether the gun was pointed at an officer.

A report from the Minneapolis Fire Department described two gunshot wounds to Locke’s chest and one on his wrist. Locke was later declared dead at HCMC.

The city identified police officer Mark Hanneman as the officer who fired on the man. City records say Hanneman started working at the Police Department in August 2015. Three complaints have been made about Hanneman to the city’s Office of Police Conduct and Review, although they were closed without disciplinary action. 

Law enforcement vehicles block off the street outside of the apartment complex where police shot and killed a man while executing a search warrant on Wednesday. Credit: Tim Evans for MPR News

A spokesperson for the Minneapolis Police Department confirmed that Hanneman has been on paid administrative leave since Wednesday. 

Minneapolis police officials had announced in November 2020 that the department was limiting use of so-called “no knock” warrants, either for searches or arrests, in which officers don’t ask for entry into a target location or announce their intentions before going in.

Huffman on Thursday said knock and no-knock warrants had been obtained for Wednesday’s action.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting, and the department will review to see if its policies and procedures were violated, Huffman said.

“We all know these events happen very rapidly, and as there’s a gun emerging in your direction you’re forced to make a split-second decision about when it’s a threat,” she said.

Activists who attended the press conference were critical of initial statements about the incident and said city officials weren’t being truthful.

“What we are seeing is business as usual,” said civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong. “If (police) knew that the kid had a gun as he started waking up, say ‘Drop your weapon.’ They didn’t do that.”

Attorney Ben Crump, who represented George Floyd’s family following his killing while in Minneapolis police custody, is representing Locke’s family. In a statement, Crump said Locke had no past criminal history and legally possessed a gun. 

Crump and Locke’s family members are expected to speak to reporters Friday morning.

Watch Mayor Jacob Frey and interim police chief Amelia Huffman speak to reporters following release of the body camera footage:

Matt Sepic

Matt Sepic is a general assignment reporter for MPR News.

Tim Nelson

Tim Nelson is a general assignment reporter for MPR News.