The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis has issued a new statement in response to the police killing of Amir Locke during a no-knock warrant at a downtown apartment.
In a comment issued Saturday, the union – which critics of MPD see as a major obstacle to meaningful changes to policing in the city – has called for people to reserve judgement in the case until the investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is complete.
"The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will gather the needed facts for the investigation and no conclusions should be made until the investigation is complete," it said.
The union had issued a statement shortly after the Wednesday shooting – before the bodycam footage was released – stating that they were thankful all of the officers involved were safe and said that Officer Mark Hanneman had to make a "split-second decision to save his life and the lives of fellow officers."
In the days that have followed, it has emerged that Locke was not the subject of the search warrant served on the apartment; that he was the legal owner of the handgun he had in his possession and had no criminal record; and that despite claims by interim MPD chief Amelia Huffman and the MPD press office that Locke was pointing the gun towards an officer, the bodycam shows this was not the case.
It has also emerged that MPD, which was conducting the search at the request of St. Paul PD as part of a homicide investigation in St. Paul, had insisted upon using a higher-risk no-knock warrant, despite St. Paul PD initially requesting a knock warrant.
The union re-iterated its statement about "split-second decisions" in its latest statement, saying that "policing, particularly with a SWAT team, is a dangerous, high-stress profession where officers are forced to make split-decisions in defense of themselves and their fellow officers."
"Weapons are drawn and used when officers are faced with significant safety threats."
The federation notes that the SWAT team was serving a warrant "authorized by a judge" as part of an investigation into a violent crime – albeit it does not make reference to the reports that MPD had demanded it be a no-knock warrant.
It continues to state that Hanneman "quickly encountered Mr. Locke who was armed with a handgun and made the decision to use deadly force. No officer goes into a dangerous setting like this wanting to use a weapon."
No decision has been made regarding the employment of Hanneman and any other MPD employees following the shooting.
Former Police Federation of Minneapolis President Bob Kroll was initially critical of the decision by Mayor Jacob Frey to fire the four officers involved in the killing of George Floyd in the immediate aftermath of Floyd's death in May 2020, saying they had been fired "without due process."
The latest police union statement expresses sympathy for Locke's family "for the loss of Amir Locke that resulted from this tragic chain of events," as well as expressing support of the officers involved and their families.
"The decision was not taken lightly and the impact of the use of deadly force will affect these officers, their families, and the family of Mr. Locke for the rest of their lives," it said.