The fatal police shooting of Amir Locke will be reviewed for possible criminal charges by both the Hennepin County Attorney's Office and Minnesota Attorney General's Office.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the partnership in a statement Friday morning, calling Locke's shooting death "tragic." Locke died Wednesday morning in a downtown Minneapolis apartment when a SWAT officer executing a search warrant shot and killed the 22-year-old.
Bodycam footage, released Thursday evening, shows Locke under a blanket on the couch, seemingly sleeping, when officers enter with guns drawn and flashlights on. Part of his head emerges from the blanket. He can also be seen holding a gun, though it is not pointed at officers and his finger doesn't appear to be on the trigger.
Officer Mark Hanneman then opens fire, killing Locke.
"We will be working with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to ensure a thorough and complete evaluation," Freeman said of the upcoming review by his office and Attorney General Keith Ellison's office. "Thereafter we will decide together, based on the law and evidence, whether criminal charges should be brought."
This will be the third time in recent years the offices have banded together to review a fatal police encounter. Both were involved in the prosecuting decisions of former police officers Derek Chauvin and Kimberly Potter. Juries found Chauvin guilty of murder in George Floyd's death, and Potter guilty of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.
They became the second and third police officers in Minnesota to be convicted of killings while on duty. The first was Mohamed Noor in 2019, a case Freeman's office prosecuted.
Daniel Mabley, a retired judge and current chief criminal deputy in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, will lead the review of the Locke police shooting for that office.
"We want to extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. Locke’s family and loved ones during this difficult time," Freeman's office said. "Because of the nature of the investigation, no further press comments will be forthcoming."
Gun Owners Caucus defends Locke
The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, a firearms and Second Amendment advocacy group, issued a statement on Locke's shooting death Friday morning, in which it defended him as "a law-abiding citizen who was lawfully in possession of a firearm when he was shot and killed by Minneapolis police."
Locke's family and their attorney have said he had a permit to carry a gun. In the bodycam video, officers do not appear to announce their presence before entering the apartment, though after coming inside several officers shout, "Police search warrant."
The video does not show officers ordering him to put it down, nor does it include any indication of officers announcing he had a gun before Hanneman fired his service weapon.
It's also been reported that Locke was not the suspect named on the homicide-related search warrant the SWAT team was executing.
"Mr. Locke did what many of us might do in the same confusing circumstances, he reached for a legal means of self-defense while he sought to understand what was happening,“ said Rob Doar, senior vice president Governmental Affairs for the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, adding: “The tragic circumstances of Mr. Locke’s death were completely avoidable.
“It’s yet another example where a no-knock warrant has resulted in the death of an innocent person. In this case, as in others, the public should expect and receive full transparency and accountability from law enforcement agencies that serve and protect our local communities.”