Prosecutors: No charges to be filed in fatal shooting of Amir Locke

(KSTP) – Criminal charges will not be filed in connection to the fatal police shooting of Amir Locke, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Locke, 22, was shot and killed on the morning of Feb. 2 as a Minneapolis Police Department SWAT team was serving a no-knock search warrant at the Bolero Flats apartment building in connection to a St. Paul homicide case. Locke wasn’t named in the search warrant.

KSTP’s complete Amir Locke coverage

The news comes just a week after the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office received the case from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

The attorney’s office cited “insufficient admissible evidence to file criminal charges” and said prosecutors “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.”

Body camera footage of the incident shows the SWAT team unlock the door to the apartment with a key, open the door and yell, “Police search warrant!” as they step into the apartment. Locke is seen laying on a couch underneath a blanket in the living room and only appears to rise after an officer kicks the sofa.

When Locke emerges, he is seen holding a handgun pointed at the ground with his finger pointed out and off the trigger. At that point, Minneapolis Police Officer Mark Hanneman fires shots from off camera. The entire encounter lasts roughly nine seconds.

Despite declining to file charges, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and Minnesota Attorney General’s Office both released statements Wednesday morning saying Locke “should be alive today, and his death is a tragedy.” The offices also said Locke may be alive if a no-knock warrant wasn’t used and called the warrants “highly risky,” adding that they “pose significant dangers to both law enforcement and the public.”

“Local, state, and federal policy makers should seriously weigh the benefits of no-knock warrants,” the offices said in a joint statement.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison discussed their decision to not file charges in the case during a press conference that can be viewed below.

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