No Charges Against Officer Who Killed Legally Armed Amir Locke in No-Knock Raid

Screenshot from bodycam footage showing Locke holding a gun.

Minneapolis prosecutors announced Wednesday that they do not plan to file charges against a police officer who shot and killed a legally armed man during a no-knock raid in February.

Amir Locke died of gunshot wounds inflicted by officer Mark Hanneman, who was part of a team investigating a homicide in nearby St. Paul. Locke was not the subject of the warrant, but in bodycam footage released shortly after the incident, Locke can be seen holding a handgun as he wakes up from sleeping on a couch.

He possessed the gun legally, and his mother said he purchased it to protect himself in the course of his work and in response to rising crime.

“My son was protecting himself, thinking he had to protect himself from all the crime that is out of control, Mayor Frey, the mayor of Minneapolis, that you can’t control,” she said. “So my son decided that if he’s going to go back and forth and do Instacart and DoorDash, he needed to bear arms, the legal way.”

Hanneman told investigators that he feared for his life when he saw Locke’s gun, and that he had acted quickly because he felt his life was in jeopardy. While Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman described Locke’s death as a “tragedy,” he concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Hanneman violated any of the state’s use of force statutes.  

SEE ALSO: Former Miami Police Chief Reviews Footage of Florida Highway Shooting

Legal experts acknowledged from the start that charges were unlikely, but the incident has given anti-gun pundits and politicians another excuse to accuse the Second Amendment community of racism.

“Where [are] the Second Amendment supporters for Black people who have a right to bear arms?” attorney Benjamin Crump said at a news conference in New York City alongside Locke’s mother. “Where is the NRA? They should be outraged.”

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has remained silent on the incident, but many other Second Amendment groups and individuals have spoken out.

While the investigation was still in its early stages, Gun Owners of America expressed “concern” about the incident.

“While the video does appear to show he had a firearm in hand, that is not an unwarranted action on someone’s part when they’re woken up in the middle of the night to loud shouting,” the group pointed out. “Not to mention the fact that we have seen other cases where home invaders pose as police to get the upper hand on their intended victims.”

The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus also noted that Locke was simply exercising his Second Amendment rights.

SEE ALSO: Illinois Police Officer Begged for Her Life Before Being Shot with Her Own Gun

“Mr. Locke did what many of us might do in the same confusing circumstances, he reached for a legal means of self-defense while he sought to understand what was happening,” said Rob Doar, who works in the group’s government affairs office.

Writing for the libertarian magazine, Reason, Bill Binion argued that “anyone who cares about gun rights” should be “incensed” about Locke’s death.

“Locke’s scenario should bother just about anyone who supports the right to carry a firearm,” he said. “The Second Amendment does not discriminate, nor does it evaporate as soon as the government enters the premises, particularly when considering that the Founding impetus behind it was to protect against a tyrannical state.”

In response to Locke’s death, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has banned the use of no-knock warrants in the city.

Locke’s family and their attorneys say they plan to pursue the case in civil court.

In light of this tragedy, what is your opinion of no-knock raids?

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Snake April 10, 2022, 12:05 pm

    I personally do not understand why they first decide to go with a no-knock warrant, yet as soon as they enter the apartment, they go in shouting all the way, as if all Hell has broken loose, instead of trying to clear the apartment as quiet as possible and try to get the guy by surprise, instead like this. Personally, if someone would enter into my home like this, shouting and screaming, and I have just awakened from my sleep, I also would never care who that is, but I would grab my gun and shoot immediately as well.

    On the other side though, if you go in knocking first, with an arrest warrant, this can play out bad for the police as well. I cannot find the news right now on GunsAmerica, it still must be somewhere on this website though, but I remember that just a few months ago a police officer has been killed by a guy which they wanted to arrest in his own home, after he suddenly started firing a pistol that was changed to fire in fully automatic mode, while the police officer was still standing outside close to the door, asking this guy to come out. So, after all, there is a big risk involved for using any of these two methods, although in my opinion I think it would still be better if no knock-warrants will finally be forbidden.

  • Get Freight April 9, 2022, 11:52 pm

    No-knock warrants are for lazy, incompetent law enforcement. There are other, more effective and safer options. It is also a violation of the rights of anyone involved.

    The fact that the, “government” can bust in your door and shoot you because they are afraid for their life is ridiculous. They should be afraid for their life. Stupid should be painful. The fact that they are willing to serve a no-knock should remove any and all protection they may have as law enforcement. That protection is only when they are acting in a constitutional manner. And even that protection is questionable. It has been abused too much at the expense of our rights. It needs to end.

  • Rollin L April 8, 2022, 5:04 pm

    The video only confirms how little opportunity Locke had to assess the situation. This is not about “no knock” warrant service per se. That’s the shiny object used to distract from the actual problem. This is about these reckless middle of the night raids. Don’t tell me it’s about preserving evidence or catching violent perps by surprise. How dangerous were Roger Stone and Paul Manafort? This is all about intimidation, nothing more. There is no reason they can’t search the house when they know it is unoccupied, thus avoiding a confrontation there. And the perp, if an arrest warrant is issued, can be picked up during the day with far less chance of of harm to anyone, much of the time.

    I support law enforcement, but this is becoming akin to James Bond: License to Kill. This starts not with the raid, but with the fact that warrants get rubber stamped when there is no good reason, or distortions are included in order to get the Judge to sign. The officer in this case was too trigger happy. Derek Chauvin and Kim Potter are NOT the ones who should have been prosecuted. Cops who shoot innocent people with no criminal intent are the ones who should go to trial.

  • Billy m April 8, 2022, 12:47 pm

    I hope Amir’s family gets lots and lots of money for this. We need an end to ‘No Knock’ warrants and immunity needs to very limited. This could have happened to any of use. Someone breaks down my door, I’m going for my weapon. I am partially deaf, I may not hear or understand what people our shouting as I wake up from a dead sleep.This was a tragedy and was senseless. this could be any of us!

  • ro April 8, 2022, 11:51 am

    I tell my clients….It is good to be King

    end no-knock warrants and while you are at it, qualified immunity

    sad, so sad

  • Boz April 8, 2022, 11:45 am

    A no-knock entry into my house WILL result in the entrant’s death, guaranteed, irrelevant of who they are.

  • James Nye April 8, 2022, 9:08 am

    Are there any volunteers to be ” FIRST THROUGH THE DOOR ” on an announced raid or warrant service ?

    • Craig April 8, 2022, 12:40 pm

      These tyrants do not need to enter the house especially without notice; they can strategically surround the house and call for the guy to come out and perform their standard arrest routine, if the individual does not come out, they can wait him out. If he comes out with gun in hand, then the police should take evasive action. They can get negotiators on site. They have time on their side. They can also place him or the individual under surveillance and nab him while they are running errands.
      There are other ways to get the individual they want without “No-knock” brake ins! I have several police in my extended family and they always say they live for this type of action! They get all their military gear on, cover their faces and charge! They all love it! These instances are why American’s are looking negatively towards the police. He (cop) felt his life was endanger, right! Every state should ban these “No-Knock” forced
      break ins.

  • Rock April 8, 2022, 9:05 am

    Just another example of SANCTIONED MURDER by a police department. Exactly how is it that you must perform a no knock warrant on a person who is NOT a known suspect of any crime? Seems that investigating a murder that happened nearby ought to require a few officers asking questions instead of bursting in saying “get on the ground mother fukker”. No respect for this type of “law enforcement”.

    • John Joseph Morley April 8, 2022, 10:40 am

      Agreed

  • Dr Motown April 8, 2022, 8:03 am

    Obviously this incident will be racialized for political and financial reward by Crump, but we’re seeing more such tragedies of innocent citizens being killed. It can happen to any of us, so it’s probably time to end these types of warrants

    • Marc Kappel April 8, 2022, 8:51 am

      Agreed, this happened in my community, absolutely nobody lost there job for going to the wrong house and killing a legally armed man on a no knock raid. So sad.

  • Godfrey Washington April 8, 2022, 7:58 am

    Nice to know big brother can do no wrong…
    Supposed the officer missed or the wounds were non lethal? A lucky shot on Amir’s end and a dead cop later, he would most definitely be in prison, and his family in constant danger for being related to a “cop killer”.

    • Rock April 8, 2022, 9:11 am

      Cops are supposed to be trained and to carry out their duties according to specific procedures. Its too bad that no knock warrants are legal. In this case, the no knock warrant was wrongfully issued and an innocent man died. The police officer simply wanted to shoot somebody, a half asleep man dazed and confused with a pistol pointed at nobody. Please, if THAT makes you in fear of your life while you are geared up in full riot mode and bullet proof vests, then you have NO BUSINESS being an officer of the law.

  • Kb31416 April 8, 2022, 7:03 am

    The is absolutely ZERO justification for no knock raids. Period.
    That guy could have been me. He could have been anyone that is reading this article.
    Was the cop responsible? Yes. And so was the command chain that authorized and ordered the no knock raid. No Nuremberg defense. Issue unreasonable orders? Guilty. Follow unreasonable orders? Guilty.
    I support the PD and am all for crushing criminals instead of coddling them, but no knock raids are just a stupid way to get innocent people killed. Not justified, ever.

  • Ransom April 8, 2022, 4:30 am

    I actually agree with race hustler Crump on this.
    No knock raids need to end!

  • Ricky B. April 7, 2022, 9:36 pm

    No knock raids are unconstitutional invasions of American homes. Americans have the constitutional right to defend their homes from violent invasions. It’s unacceptable that our brave police officers who selflessly sacrifice so much for our communities are forced into this kind of a situation. How are the judges who authorize no-knock warrants not criminally responsible for the sadly predictable outcomes?

    • Blasted Cap April 8, 2022, 9:10 am

      The Judges only sign off on the raids AFTER the police request them. Your so called “brave” police officers force themselves into these situations. After all like all criminals, they prefer un-armed un-suspecting victims.

      • Cedave April 8, 2022, 11:19 am

        Blasted Cap, you are spot on!!!!! I totally agree!

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