No charges for officer who shot and killed Amir Locke

Amir Locke was killed as officers executed a "no-knock" search warrant.

April 06, 2022, 11:08 AM

No criminal charges will be filed in the fatal police shooting of Amir Locke, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, announced Wednesday.

Locke was fatally shot by Minneapolis police officers in February as officers were executing a "no-knock" search warrant on the apartment he was in.

No-knock warrants allow officers to enter a private home without knocking or making their presence known.

"I am not disappointed -- I am disgusted with the City of Minneapolis," said Locke's mother, Karen Wells, in a press conference regarding the announcement. "Can you imagine knowing that you'll never get to see your 22-year-old baby ever again?"

Locke, a legal gun owner, had been sleeping under a blanket on the couch. Body camera footage shows a gun in his hand when he begins to sit up as police approach him.

PHOTO: A picture of Amir Locke is seen above George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, Feb. 22, 2022.
A picture of Amir Locke is seen above George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, Feb. 22, 2022.
Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

An officer can be seen shooting him less than 10 seconds after entering the room.

Locke was not a suspect in the crime for which the warrant was issued and was not named in the document.

"Amir Locke's life mattered," read a statement from the Hennepin County Attorney. "He was a young man with plans to move to Dallas, where he would be closer to his mom and -- he hoped -- build a career as a hip-hop artist, following in the musical footsteps of his father."

However, the attorney's office stated that after a review of the case, there wasn't enough evidence to file criminal charges.

The legal team representing Locke's family said it was "deeply disappointed" by the decision.

"The tragic death of this young man, who was not named in the search warrant and had no criminal record, should never have happened," the team said in a statement. "The family and its legal team are firmly committed to their continued fight for justice in the civil court system, in fiercely advocating for the passage of local and national legislation, and taking every other step necessary to ensure accountability for all those responsible for needlessly cutting Amir’s life far too short."

His death reignited calls to end the use of "no-knock" warrants, which were sparked by the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor on March 13, 2020 after Louisville, Kentucky, officers executed a "no-knock" search warrant for Taylor's ex-boyfriend for allegedly dealing drugs.

Wells urged local leaders to meet with her about banning no-knock warrants: "Because there's nothing else to say to me. I don't want to hear that you're sorry. I want to hear about your little condolences. That's not going to bring my baby back," she said at the press conference.

In his statement, Freeman also called for a reconsideration on the use of no-knock warrants: "No-knock warrants are highly risky and pose significant dangers to both law enforcement and the public, including to individuals who are not involved in any criminal activity."

He continued: "The fact that it is standard practice for paramedics to stand by at the scene when no-knock warrants are executed speaks to the foreseeably violent nature of this law enforcement tool."

Several states have instituted bans on such warrants. Following Locke's death, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said his office will propose a full ban on no-knock and no-announce search warrants in the city.

"Amir Locke, a lawful gun owner, should still be alive," said Bryan Strawser, the chair of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, a nonprofit gun rights advocacy group, in a statement following Locke's death.

"Black men, like all citizens, have a right to keep and bear arms. Black men, like all citizens, have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable search and seizure," he added.

ABC News' Whitney Lloyd contributed to this report.

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