As they grieve their son, the parents of Amir Locke are calling on Minneapolis to commit to a full ban on no-knock warrants—the dangerous tactic employed by the police who killed their 22-year-old son last Wednesday in an apartment downtown.
A former St. Paul Como Park High School football player and aspiring musician who was planning to move from the Twin Cities to Dallas, Texas, Locke was shot and killed by Minneapolis police officer Mark Hanneman as a SWAT team served a no-knock search warrant. Locke was not named in the warrant.
“The no-knock warrant is what caused Amir’s death,” his father, Andre Locke, told CNN’s Omar Jimenez.
“As professional people that carry guns and are supposed to protect and serve a community, they didn’t protect my son that day,” said Karen Wells, Locke’s mother. “They chose not to do that. And they took him from me and I am angry,” she said.
No-knock warrants have undergone intense criticism and scrutiny since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed as Louisville police served a no-knock warrant in May 2020. As I wrote on Friday, Mayor Jacob Frey had falsely claimed to have “banned” no-knock warrants during his reelection campaign this fall. In reality, the city had introduced a new policy regulating no-knock warrants, and this year alone the Minneapolis police department had been granted 13 no-knock warrants.
At a press conference on Monday, Nneka Constantino, a cousin of Locke, spoke out about the cyclical nature of police killings of Black men, something residents of Minneapolis and St. Paul have become all too familiar with. “Our family is not naive, so we understand that it was not necessarily a person, but a system of injustice, that has killed Amir Locke,” Constantino said. “It’s a layered system of injustice that starts with so many inequalities and abuse. Shame on you is not enough of a condemnation.”