Officer Who Shot Amir Locke Had 4 Complaints on Record Since 2015 Hiring

Following the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Black man Amir Locke, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced his office would join the investigation in a city that has seen its fair share of controversial police killings.

Locke was shot Wednesday morning when police raided an apartment he was sleeping in that was connected to a homicide investigation, though his name was not on the search warrant. After police woke him up, he pointed a gun at them in what a gun rights group said was self-defense. Some activists are accusing the Minneapolis Police Department of a coverup, while a police official said the officer who shot Locke, Mark Hanneman, was in a "difficult position," the Associated Press reported.

The department hired Hanneman in 2015, according to the AP. City records show there have been three complaints against him that were closed without discipline. Data from Communities United Against Police Brutality shows a fourth complaint from 2018 that is still open. No specifics were provided on any of these complaints, and a police department spokesperson told Newsweek it cannot provide comment on the complaints.

In a statement, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office said it would work with the state's attorney general and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to "decide together, based on the law and evidence, whether criminal charges should be brought."

Amelia Huffman, the police department's interim chief, said at a news conference that body camera footage released Thursday showed Hanneman had to act quickly after Locke pointed his gun at him.

"That's the moment when the officer had to make a split-second decision to assess the circumstances and to determine whether he felt like there was an articulable threat, that the threat was of imminent harm, great bodily harm or death, and that he needed to take action right then to protect himself and his partners," she said.

However, according to a statement from the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, Locke had obtained the gun legally and was acting in self-defense, as the police raid woke him from sleep and he likely drew his weapon because he was disoriented.

"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, the group's senior vice president of governmental affairs. "The tragic circumstances of Mr. Locke's death were completely avoidable."

Civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong and a group of other activists confronted the interim police chief and the Minneapolis mayor at the news conference, calling the city's information release "the anatomy of a coverup," according to the AP.

In a statement, the Locke family's attorney, Ben Crump, compared the situation to Breonna Taylor's 2020 death, saying Locke's death is part of "a pattern of no-knock warrants having deadly consequences for Black Americans."

"This is yet another example of why we need to put an end to these kinds of search warrants so that one day, Black Americans will be able to sleep safely in their beds at night," Crump said.

Amir Locke, Minneapolis Police Department
Activists have criticized the Minneapolis Police Department for the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Amir Locke. Above, in this image taken from MPD body camera video and released by the city of Minneapolis, Locke is wrapped in a blanket on a couch holding a gun moments before he was shot on Wednesday, February 2. Minneapolis Police Department via AP