Prosecutors decline to file charges in shooting death of Amir Locke

Black man's mother says 'this is not over' as she vows to continue to fight for justice for her son

Karen Wells, Amir Locke's mother, vowed to continue to fight after Minnesota authorities announced no charges would be filed in the shooting death of her son by police executing a "no-knock" search warrant.

Locke was shot dead in February by Minneapolis police who were searching for a suspect in a murder investigation.

Ms Wells said the officer who shot Locke, Mark Hanneman, is "guilty" after prosecutors announced he would not be charged.

"This is not over. You may have been found not guilty, but in the eyes of me, being the mother who I am, you are guilty," Ms Wells said.

"I am not disappointed. I am disgusted with the city of Minneapolis," she said.

A video shows members of a police SWAT team entering the apartment shortly before 7am while shouting "Police, search warrant!"

Then Locke, who was sleeping on a couch, starts to rise from beneath a blanket with a gun in his hand when police open fire.

Police entered the apartment using a controversial "no-knock" warrant. Locke was not a suspect in the murder case and was authorised to own a firearm.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Wednesday said the authorities were declining to file any criminal charges against the officers involved.

"Amir Locke is a victim," Mr Ellison said in a statement. "He should be alive today, and his death is a tragedy."

But the attorney general said police officers have the right to use deadly force to protect their life or the life of someone else. Body camera footage showed that Locke had pointed a gun at Mr Hanneman, prosecutors said.

"Under current law — and as awful as the circumstances of this tragedy are — there is not sufficient admissible evidence to support a criminal charge," Mr Ellison said.

The state attorney general said the case raises questions about whether the police should continue to use these controversial warrants, which have been banned in some jurisdictions.

"No-knock warrants are highly risky and pose significant dangers to both law enforcement and the public, including to individuals who are not involved in any criminal activity," he said.

Locke's death reopened wounds in Minneapolis that were caused by the May 2020 murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, by a white police officer.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: April 07, 2022, 3:50 PM