The family of Amir Locke, who was killed by Minneapolis police in a no-knock raid last year, has filed a lawsuit against the city and the officer who fatally shot him.
Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, died in February 2022 after Officer Mark Hanneman shot him three times as Minneapolis police entered an apartment where he was sleeping. Officers were carrying out a search warrant that Locke wasn't listed on, police said following the deadly raid.
Despite calls to charge Hanneman and renewed criticism of no-knock warrants, prosecutors said there wasn't enough evidence to pursue criminal charges against him.
On Friday (February 3), civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Locke's family, announced the lawsuit alleging that Locke was deprived of his constitutional rights and outlining systemic issues within the department.
“The City of Minneapolis, as we’ve seen clearly and painfully in recent years, has a history of using excessive and unjustified force, particularly against Black men," Crump said in a statement. "Amir Locke should not have died one year ago, and we will use this lawsuit to fight for justice and for much-needed change in the way Minneapolis trains its officers."
On February 2, 2022, officers burst through the door of an apartment, shouting commands as they entered, per body camera footage. In the footage, Locke appears to rise from a couch holding a gun, which his parents said he legally owned. Police then fired three shots. Locke died at a hospital.
“Amir, like many Americans, had a handgun within his reach while he slept. Even half-asleep, while Amir reached for the handgun, he demonstrated proper and responsible handling by keeping the handgun pointed away from the officers and keeping his finger off the trigger. Amir never raised the weapon in the direction of any officer or placed his finger on the trigger," the lawsuit states.
Locke didn't live in the apartment where the fatal shooting occurred. Police were searching for suspects in the January 2022 shooting of Otis Elder. Locke's cousin and another teenager later faced charges in connection to the shooting.
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