Police Body Cam Footage Shows How Amir Locke Shooting Happened

Following a wave of public outcry, the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) has released officer-worn body camera footage that showed the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Amir Locke.

Locke's death is the latest in a series of officer-involved shootings that have plagued the City of Lakes in the past few years.

The body camera footage was released on Thursday evening, following the urging of 10 Democratic lawmakers in the Minnesota House. It shows MPD SWAT officers executing a 'no-knock' search warrant the previous day at a seventh-floor apartment building.

The warrant was related to a homicide investigation that was being conducted in Minneapolis' sister city, St. Paul.

MPD officers can be seen executing the warrant in the early morning hours of Wednesday, and officers can be heard continually shouting their presence despite not knocking. Officers walking through the apartment can be seen encountering an African-American individual, later identified as Locke, asleep on a couch.

Locke did not live at the apartment, but was staying the night with friends, according to information obtained by the Associated Press. Police later admitted that he was not the person that they were looking for in relation to the homicide investigation.

Officers can be heard ordering Locke, who is covered by a blanket, to get his hands up, and the shooting occurs just seconds later as Locke begins to get up from the couch. Interim MPD Chief Amelia Huffman stated in a press conference that police saw that Locke was holding a firearm, leading to them making a "split-second decision" to shoot him.

A public information report from the MPD elaborates further, saying that Locke "was armed with a handgun pointed in the direction of the officers."

An object that does appear to be a handgun can be seen being held by Locke during a split-second frame of the footage.

The entire incident is over within the span of less than one minute.

Following its release, the MPD uploaded the full body-camera footage onto YouTube. The video contains graphic content and language.

Amir Locke
The Minneapolis Police Department has released body camera footage from the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Amir Locke. Asleep at the time of a no-knock warrant, police stated that they fired on Locke after they noticed he was carrying a gun. This marks the latest in a number of police-involved shootings in Minneapolis in the past few years. Here, a screenshot from the body-camera footage can be seen. Minneapolis Police Department/YouTube

Despite the publication of the footage, significant criticism was aimed towards the handling of the case by civil rights activists. This includes Nekima Levy Armstrong, the former president of the Minneapolis NAACP, who interrupted Chief Huffman's press conference to speak on Locke's death.

"I'm expecting strong leadership, I'm expecting integrity, and I'm expecting accountability," Levy Armstrong told Huffman. She also questioned why the MPD was assisting St. Paul authorities with a warrant in the first place.

"You all go, do something for St. Paul Police, and now you're trying to hide behind that decision. It's not acceptable," Levy Armstrong continued. "We are ready for change."

A similar sentiment was echoed by prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump.

"Like the case of Breonna Taylor, the tragic killing of Amir Locke shows a pattern of no-knock warrants having deadly consequences for Black Americans," Crump said in a press release. "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."

"We will continue pushing for answers in this case so that Amir's grieving family can get the closure they deserve."

Locke's death is just the latest in a number of police-involved shootings in Minneapolis that have drawn national attention.

The most prominent was the death of George Floyd, who was murdered in May 2020 by former MPD officer Derek Chauvin. Amateur footage captured that day shows Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes after he was detained, despite Floyd's insistence that he couldn't breathe.

Floyd's death reignited the Black Lives Matter movement across the country, and Chauvin was eventually convicted of murder and sentenced to over 20 years behind bars.

Another Minneapolis shooting that drew significant outcry involved Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot by former MPD officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop. Although she claimed to have mistaken her Taser for her handgun, Potter was nonetheless convicted of first and second-degree manslaughter—her sentencing is scheduled for February 18.

Newsweek has reached out to the MPD for comment.