Civil lawsuit filed year after police-related death of Minneapolis man, Amir Locke

ByNakylah Carter ABCNews logo
Friday, February 3, 2023
Civil lawsuit filed year after police-related death of Minneapolis man, Amir Locke
Civil rights attorneys Ben Crump holds a sign reading "Justice for Amir Locke" during a news conference in St. Paul , Minnesota on February 10, 2022.

One year after the death of Amir Locke, a 22-year-old man shot and killed by Minneapolis police, attorneys Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci and Jeff Storms announced Friday during a news conference that they've filed a civil lawsuit.

Locke was fatally shot in February 2022 by Minneapolis police officers executing a no-knock search warrant on the apartment he was in.

"Our son didn't do anything wrong. It could have been anyone's son," Andre Locke, father of Amir, said to ABC News affiliate KTSP. "But it happened to be ours, and people don't understand how it feels until it actually happens to them."

Locke was asleep on the couch when Minneapolis officers entered the residence. Officer Mark Hanneman shot Locke as he emerged from under a blanket holding a gun that he legally owned, according to his family.

"If I did not use deadly force myself, I would likely be killed," Hanneman told investigators when describing that moment on the body camera footage.

Prosecutors declined to file charges.

"Everybody, not just in Minneapolis, but across the United States, who has paid attention to no-knock warrants knew that families like this would be standing here," Storms said at the news conference. "The City of Minneapolis knows that no-knock warrants are dangerous, and they knew that before Amir was killed."

"If you look at the statistics that were from Minneapolis itself, in the four months preceding Amir's death, not a single no-knock warrant was executed on the home of a non-Hispanic White person. Almost all of them were in Black homes and why does that matter?" he continued.

As a result of the shooting, the Minneapolis police department no longer allows for the application or practice of no-knock search warrants, the city's mayor Jacob Frey announced in April of last year.

No-knock warrants have come under scrutiny, most prominently in the 2020 killing of Breonna Taylor during a botched drug raid.

"What happened to Amir on Feb. 2, 2022, was not the cause of a singular event. That was the result of a systemic pattern and practice that has been occurring in Minneapolis over time," Romanucci said.

This lawsuit announcement comes a day after multiple organizations held a vigil at the Minnesota State Capitol rotunda for the anniversary of Locke's death.

"Y'all have forever changed the dynamic of a family. This has got to stop. Amir will be the face of banning no-knock warrants. He will not die in vain," Locke's mother, Karen Wells, said during the news conference.

The Congressional Black Caucus will be pushing for police reform as well as President Joe Biden to make it a primary issue during his State of the Union address, Crump said.

The official complaint seeks compensatory, special and punitive damages. The complaint also requests an appointment of someone who can ensure the City of Minneapolis properly trains and supervises its police officers.

ABC News' Kiara Alfonseca contributed to this report

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