Minneapolis police officer Mark Hanneman will not be charged in the shooting of Amir Locke
A Minneapolis police officer who killed a 22-year-old gunman who was black during a no-knock raid will not face any criminal charges in the shooting, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The fatal shooting of Amir Locke by officer Mark Hanneman during a morning raid on his home on February 2 was deemed justified after bodycam footage showed Locke pointing a gun at the officer, according to Attorney General Keith Ellison and the District Attorney of Hennepin, Michael Freeman.
Locke, who was staying at his cousin’s apartment, was asleep on a couch at the time and got up while holding a firearm. He was not the subject of the search warrant, prosecutors said.
“It would be unethical for us to press charges in a case where we know we cannot prevail because the law does not support the charges,” Ellison told reporters.
Hanneman, who shot Locke in the face, shoulder and chest, told investigators he was “fearful” for his life and that of other SWAT team officers, the Star Tribune reported, citing a joint prosecutors’ report.
Ellison said Locke should not have been named a suspect because Minneapolis police originally characterized him in a press release, but added that he appeared to have pointed the gun at Hanneman.
“Officer Hanneman recognized that Mr. Locke’s movements and the emergence of a firearm represented a threat of death or serious injury that had a reasonable probability of occurring and to which officers had to respond immediately,” Ellison said.
Locke’s death came while three former Minneapolis police officers were on trial in the May 2020 killing of George Floyd in federal court in nearby St. Paul. The fatal shooting also prompted protests and calls for an end to no-knock search warrants in Minneapolis and other cities across Minnesota.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey banned search warrants after Locke’s death. He also formalized a new policy on Tuesday, due to come into effect on Friday, requiring police to knock and wait before barging into a home.
But in “threatening circumstances,” the new policy still allows cops to enter a location without having to wait up to 30 seconds, which some critics may say is a loophole, the Star Tribune reported.
Locke’s mother, Karen Wells, said in February that officers “executed” her son. She hired prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump after Amir’s death. Crump and attorney Jeff Storms previously won a $27 million settlement between the city of Minneapolis and Floyd’s family.
Locke’s family, meanwhile, is “deeply disappointed” by the decision not to criminally charge Hanneman, Crump, Storms and attorney Antonio Romanucci, said in a statement to The Post.
“The family and their legal team are firmly committed to their continued fight for justice in the civil court system by vigorously supporting the passage of local and national legislation and taking all other steps necessary to ensure all those responsible for unnecessary cuts are held accountable.” Amir’s life is far too short,” the lawyers said. “Today only deepens the resolve of Amir’s family and legal team.”
With postal wires