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Protestors march for ‘Justice for Amir’ after police killing Wednesday

Hundreds filled the streets of downtown Minneapolis, calling for a ban on no-knock warrants and the resignation of the interim police chief and Mayor Frey.
Image by Andrew Stoup
An activist leads chants as the protestors march towards the 1st Minneapolis Police Precinct on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. The protest was held to honor Amir Locke, who was fatally shot by a Minneapolis Police officer earlier this week.

Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon to protest the killing of Amir Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, who was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer on Wednesday.

The “Justice for Amir” protest, organized by 15 different activist groups, including Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar and Black Lives Matter Twin Cities Metro, called for a ban on no-knock warrants and the resignation of Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman and Mayor Jacob Frey. Protestors also demanded the prosecution of police officer Mark Hanneman, who shot and killed Locke.

Students from the University of Minnesota’s chapter of Students for a Democratic Society attended and encouraged students to come to the protest with them via Instagram. The protest had a “somber but loving” feel, said protester and University alum Abby Hornberger.

Police shot and killed 22-year-old Locke while he was lying on a couch in a Minneapolis apartment at about 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The officers entered the apartment yelling “search warrant,” according to footage released by the city of Minneapolis. Locke, a registered gun owner, was sleeping and woke up with a gun in hand when the officers came in. Officer Hanneman shot and killed Locke within nine seconds of opening the door.

The officers entered the apartment on a “no-knock warrant.” Locke was not listed on the warrant.

“We had a year of nationwide protests and a lot of claims that things are gonna change and clearly just nothing has,” said Kevin Yost, a protestor at the event. “It feels like we got to do something. You know, write letters, make phone calls, come out and march.”

Yost attended the protest to advocate for the resignation of the judge who signed the search warrant and the banning of no knock warrants. He said he wants to see charges brought against Hanneman. 

Frey announced a moratorium on no-knock warrants in a statement Friday afternoon, preventing judges from approving the warrant and officials from requesting them “until a new policy is crafted.” The statement also indicated that two national experts would review the department’s policy on those warrants. 

Attorney General Keith Ellison pledged to “work with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office to conduct a fair and thorough review,” adding that limited information can be provided until the investigation is finished. Ellison will work with the office of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to determine if criminal charges will be brought forward.  

Isabella Harbison, a University student who came to the protest, said they noticed SDS has mobilized since Locke’s killing by Hanneman, which included taking public transit to and from the protest with students. They said they hope the University responds by creating a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) for the University.

“I know that there’s so much more that Joan Gable can do,” Harbison said. “We want a CPAC.”

The protest began outside the Hennepin County Government Center at 3 p.m. Several hundred people gathered over the course of 90 minutes and the crowd began to march to the 1st Precinct police station.

The crowd chanted phrases such as “Frey lied, Amir died,” and, “No justice no peace, prosecute the police.” Once the group reached the 1st Precinct, they stopped while various activists spoke, including Locke’s father. The group circled back to the Hennepin County Government Center and dispersed around 5:45 p.m.

Herbert Ferguson-Augustus, a University alum, said he came out to protest for multiple reasons, including to advocate for the resignation of Mayor Jacob Frey and the abolition of no-knock warrants.

Some city residents said they feel as though no progress on policing has been made since the murder of George Floyd in 2020.

Julia Eagles, another protestor at the event, said she felt like seeing another police killing was bound to happen in Minneapolis.

“It felt inevitable that this was going to happen again in Minneapolis because it feels like so little has changed in a substantive way,” Eagles said. “It feels like we’re in this really hellish cycle.”

Maddie Roth, Hanna Van Den Einde, Kara Savage and Emalyn Muzzy contributed to this report.

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  • Meat Eater
    Feb 10, 2022 at 6:00 pm

    Guns give a false sense of security. If you play with guns there is a high probability you will end up shooting someone or someone shooting you. In the end, sleeping with a gun did not give Locke the security he thought the gun would give him.
    BTW, why was he sleeping with a gun? To protect him from his cousin? To protect him from his cousins enemies?
    If the place was that dangerous, Wouldn’t it have made more sense to stay somewhere else?