No charges filed against officer in killing of Amir Locke
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No charges filed against officer in killing of Amir Locke

Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Wednesday that they would not file criminal charges in the death of Amir Locke.

Locke, a Black man, was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police SWAT team officer when law enforcement was executing a no-knock search warrant of a downtown apartment in February. The apartment belonged to Locke’s cousin. He was shot seconds after law enforcement entered the room.

Prosecutors said Locke pointed a gun at the officer and the use of force was justified. Locke’s family said that the body camera footage showed the Locke was startled by the entry and had a license to carry the gun.

The statement from the Hennepin County Attorney said that Lock’s death was “tragedy” and that he was “victim.” However, there was insufficient admissible evidence to file criminal charges. It said:

Specifically, the State would be unable to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements of Minnesota’s use-of-deadly-force statute that authorizes the use of force by Officer [Mark] Hanneman. Nor would the State be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a criminal charge against any other officer involved in the decision-making that led to the death of Amir Locke.

The statement said that Minnesota law permits officers to use deadly force “if an objectively reasonable officer would believe, based on the totality of the circumstances known to the officer at the time and without the benefit of hindsight, that such force was necessary to protect the peace officer or another from death or great bodily harm.” The law does not consider the victim’s subjective intent.

Further, the statement said “it was not the role of our offices to evaluate whether the decision to seek a no-knock warrant was appropriate.” However, it called upon the local, state and federal government to “seriously weigh the benefits of no-knock warrants, which are dangerous for both law enforcement and the public alike.”