(MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.) — Amir Locke’s mother said she doesn’t want her son’s death to be in vain and is calling on lawmakers to reform one of the most controversial police tactics.
Karen Wells spoke with ABC News Live’s Stephanie Ramos Wednesday, just hours after Minnesota prosecutors announced they wouldn’t charge the officer who shot Locke during a “no knock” warrant in February.
Locke, 22, wasn’t under investigation for the Saint Paul case which led to the warrant, investigators said.
Wells told ABC News that such warrants, which allow law enforcement members to enter someone’s home without announcing their presence, should be banned from Minnesota.
“They’re not good for my son. They’re not good for anybody else. Because in the end, it doesn’t do anything. It brings harm, it brings death, which is what happened with my son,” Wells told ABC News.
Locke, who legally owned a gun, was sleeping under a blanket on the couch on Feb. 2 when the officers came into the apartment and executed the warrant. Police body camera footage shows a gun was in Locke’s hand when he began to sit up as police approached him.
Minneapolis Police Department officer Mark Hanneman fired three shots killing Locke, according to investigators.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and Minnesota Attorney General’s office reviewed all the evidence surrounding the shooting, and said that there was insufficient evidence to charge the officer.
“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 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 DA and AG’s offices said in a joint statement Wednesday.
Wells said she spoke with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison before the announcement was made.
“I reiterated to him that I was not disappointed. I was disgusted with the decision,” she said.
“No knock” warrants have come under scrutiny over the last couple of years due to high profile shootings of Black victims.
Louisville, Kentucky banned “no knock” warrants in 2020, a few months after Breonna Taylor was killed by police in her sleep when they executed an order. Activists and elected officials have pushed other states and the federal government to follow suit.
Ben Crump, Wells’ attorney, told ABC News that 82% of “no knock” warrants are done on Black residents’ homes.
“Until we can have it where it is done equally and justly then the Department of Justice needs to review everything that Minneapolis has done executing these warrants,” he told ABC News.
In the meantime, Wells said she hopes all elected officials take a long hard look at the police policy and think about her son’s life.
“Amir had a beautiful spirit. He had a beautiful smile. He was my baby boy,” she said.
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