Activist: Man killed by police didn't live in raided flat

A civil rights attorney says relatives told her a man fatally shot by Minneapolis police executing a search warrant in a homicide investigation did not live in the apartment raided by the SWAT team

Police Shooting Minneapolis
Police Shooting Minneapolis

A man fatally shot by Minneapolis police executing a search warrant in a homicide investigation did not live in the apartment that the SWAT team raided, according to a civil rights attorney citing the man's family.

Authorities have released scant information about the man who was killed at the Minneapolis apartment Wednesday morning, including his identity. But Nekima Levy Armstrong, who is also a prominent community activist, said Wednesday night that family members told her the man was 24-year-old Amir Locke.

Levy Armstrong, whom the mayor appointed last year as co-chair on a community safety workgroup, said the family told her Locke didn’t live in the apartment that police raided, police had not been looking for him and that he wasn't one of the three suspects named in the warrants. Law enforcement and city authorities have not corroborated any of these details.

The search warrants still were not publicly available Thursday.

Locke’s mother, Karen Locke, declined to comment to The Associated Press, referring questions to the family's attorney, Ben Crump. The civil rights lawyer has won huge settlements for the families of several people killed by police, including $27 million for the family of George Floyd. Crump hasn't responded to messages seeking comment.

Police released no new information on the shooting Thursday, and a spokeswoman for Mayor Jacob Frey has not responded to a request for comment.

Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman told reporters Wednesday that the shooting happened just before 7 a.m., as officers attempted to serve warrants on behalf of the St. Paul Police Department.

The Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement that the man who was killed pointed a loaded gun “in the direction of officers,” but did not say if he was connected to the homicide investigation or named in the warrants. The statement did not say if the SWAT team had a no-knock warrant, but said the officers “repeatedly announced their presence” after they entered and “advanced with continued loud announcements of their presence.”

The city identified the officer involved in the shooting as Mark Hanneman, but gave no other information about him. An incident report said the man who was shot had two wounds in the chest and one in the right wrist.

Levy Armstrong and other activists against police brutality gathered Wednesday night outside the luxury downtown Bolero Flats apartment tower where Locke was killed to demand the release of police body camera videos of the confrontation. She compared the case to the botched raid in which officers killed Breonna Taylor in her home in Louisville, Kentucky, in March 2020, which led to calls for change nationwide.

Several Minneapolis legislators on Thursday echoed the call for body camera footage to be made public. In a letter to Huffman and Frey, they insisted that “one path to establishing trust between the police department and the community is greater transparency and accountability of police actions.” Among the signatories Rep. Esther Agbaje, who lives in the building where the raid took place.

The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is leading the investigation, as it often does for officer-involved shootings. BCA spokeswoman Jill Oliveira said the next piece of official information to come out would be the identity of the deceased, from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office. She didn't have a timeline.

“The BCA will have additional information once any initial interviews/statements from incident participants and witnesses are complete,” Oliveira said in an email.

The Minneapolis Police Department couldn't comment Thursday because of the ongoing investigation, said its spokesman, Officer Garrett Parten. The city released some reports and photographs of the gun recovered from the scene on its website Wednesday.

Minneapolis city leaders and law enforcement officials typically withhold police body camera and dashboard camera videos for weeks or even months, citing ongoing investigations as justification.

But not always.

In December 2020, after an officer shot Dolal Idd at a gas station on Minneapolis' south side, the city released video the next day, saying it showed that the man had fired at officers first. And last April, police in suburban Brooklyn Center released video the day after the shooting of Daunte Wright, saying it showed that Officer Kim Potter apparently intended to use her Taser but drew her gun by accident. Potter was convicted of manslaughter in December.

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