No Prosecution in ‘No Knock’ Death of Amir Locke, Legally-Armed Citizen


Attorney Jeff Storms spoke at a demonstration following the death of Amir Locke in Minneapolis. (Screen snip, MPR, YouTube)

There will not be any prosecution in the death of Minneapolis resident Amir Locke, killed by a Minneapolis police officer during a “no-knock” entry of the apartment in which he was sleeping, according to the New York Times and other publications.

Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, was killed during the early-morning raid in early February because he was holding a legally-owned handgun when police burst in. The apartment reportedly belonged to Locke’s cousin. The killing recieved national coverage and there were protests in the aftermath.

The announcement came from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. The officer who fired the fatal shots was identified as Mark Hanneman.

“We would not be able to prove in a court that the officer’s use of force was not authorized under the law beyond a reasonable doubt,” Ellison said in a prepared statement. “It would be unethical for us to file charges in a case in which we know we will not prevail because the law does not support the charges.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune published an editorial Thursday in which it deemed the decision the “right call.” The editorial did, however, raise serious issues about the use of “no-knock” warrants. The newspaper said Locke was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

That probably does not provide any comfort to Locke’s mother, who said she is “disgusted” with the prosecutor’s decision, according to KMSP News. Karen Wells was “joined by Rev. Al Sharpton and attorney Ben Crump” during a Wednesday appearance in New York.

The New York Times said Locke was sleeping on a couch in the apartment. The Star Tribune editorial observed, “He also happened, for reasons unknown, to be clutching a gun as he stirred beneath a blanket on a couch.”

But this raises a question the editorial does not appear eager to address. Other legally-armed private citizens might react the same way if they were aroused from sleep by unidentified individuals crashing through the door. The reason he was holding a gun might appear obvious, under those circumstances.

According to Wells, her son was working as a food delivery driver, as reported by CNN. Locke was cremated because she did not want his remains to stay in Minneapolis, the news agency explained. Wells has moved out of the Twin Cities, and took her son’s ashes with her.


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