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Minneapolis Police have released the police bodycam footage that captured the deadly shooting of a Black man this week.
Amir Locke, 22, was shot to death after the Minneapolis Police SWAT Team entered a seventh-floor apartment while executing a search warrant, according to a news release by police. Authorities were acting on behalf of the Saint Paul Police Department in connection to a homicide investigation when they entered the place Locke was sleeping, on the 1100 block of Marquette Avenue South.
Locke was not named in the search warrant, Minneapolis Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman said at Thursday’s press conference, as reported by CBS Local Minnesota. Huffman stated it was “unclear if or how [Locke] is involved” with the homicide investigation that led police to the apartment in question.
Police entered the apartment only nine seconds before the shooting. In the video, police shout “Police!" and “Search warrant!” as they enter without permission and find Locke wrapped in a blanket on the couch. The video, which plays in slow-motion and then in real time, shows Locke was seemingly asleep when officers stormed the residence.
When Locke attempts to sit up, a gun in revealed from under the covers.
“At one point, shots were fired, and the adult male suspect was struck,” according to the release. “Officers immediately provided emergency aid and carried the suspect down to the lobby to meet paramedics.”
Locke was transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Though the findings of an autopsy have yet to be released, three shots are heard before the body cam video ends.
“The officer had to make a split-second decision to assess the circumstances and to determine whether he felt like there was an articulable threat, that the threat was of imminent harm — great bodily harm or death — and that he needed to take action right then to protect himself and his partners,” said Huffman.
Huffman stated Saint Paul Police identified “several” suspects and narrowed in on three residences at the apartment building on Marquette Avenue as part of their ongoing homicide investigation. She gave few details about the homicide they were investigating and what led authorities to Minneapolis, but said the officers executing the warrants (which included both knock and no-knock warrants) recovered items deemed of evidentiary value for the Saint Paul investigation.
The press conference became contentious when reporters challenged Huffman’s claims that police announced their presence before entering the dwelling, with reporters saying, “That’s just not true.”
The video clearly shows that police used a key to gain entry into the home and announced their presence only after opening the door.
Others at the press conference questioned why several officers were screaming all at once instead of one at a time, making it hard for a person to understand their commands.
Huffman referenced a pending investigation with the county attorney’s office to determine whether or not Locke, in fact, pointed a gun in officers’ direction, as Huffman said in a statement on Wednesday.
Civil rights lawyer Nekima Levy Armstrong then interrupted reporters and addressed Huffman and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Fray directly.
“This is what I’d call the anatomy of a coverup,” said Armstrong. “This is unacceptable. I’m sorry, it is.”
Armstrong called the press conference “business as usual,” asking Huffman and Fray how they slept at night. In her emotional speech, Armstrong pleaded for transparency.
“We’re tired of being killed. We’re tired of the coverup. We’re tired of the excuses,” Armstrong continued, claiming Minneapolis Police were white-washing the case. “That is not acceptable.”
Others in attendance called it a “disgusting” move when the police published photos of Locke’s gun and accused authorities of controlling the narrative of the story. When the press conference was canceled and Huffman and Frey were directed to leave, non-reporter attendees screamed after them, and one of them shouted, “You are a murderer!”
“There was not one legitimate reason for releasing that picture,” said Michelle Gross from the Communities United Against Police Brutality. “It was about associating a man with a gun to try to create a narrative to justify what the police did.”
Locke’s shooting death and the execution of a no-knock search warrant had advocates drawing comparisons with the 2020 shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. Taylor, who was Black, was killed after white police officers in plain clothes executed a no-knock warrant as part of a drug investigation and shot Taylor six times.
“This young man did not have a chance; this was Breonna Taylor in Minneapolis,” said CAIR-MN executive director Jaylani Hussein. “And even worse, that the mayor and chief are running away from questions.”
More information is expected in the coming days.
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