Justice for Amir Locke

Ban no-knock raids.

Bridget Maxwell

More stories from Bridget Maxwell


Photo by Submitted

How many innocent lives need to be taken to enact change?

Due to COVID-19, we all have been forced to witness an unprecedented amount of police brutality. No longer can politicians, media or the public deny these race-based murders enacted by the police. 

George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Andre Hill, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Philando Castille, Tamir Rice and Michael Brown are just a few of the innocent lives taken by those sworn to protect. 

No-knock raids are a contributing factor to the police brutality that is poisoning our country. Amir Locke is unfortunately the latest victim of no-knock raids. 

On the morning of Feb. 2, Minneapolis Police Department’s SWAT team executed a raid over a homicide case. Locke was awoken by the burst of officers swarming into the room he was sleeping in. 

Locke had his legally obtained gun in his hand, believing his cousin’s home was being broken into, which prompted police to immediately shoot. Instead of assessing the scene or doing an ounce of investigative work, they shot and killed Locke. 

Later to find out, Locke wasn’t even the suspect

Mark Hanneman, the officer who shot and killed Locke, has faced no repercussions for his murder. A Hennepin County attorney announced there was “insufficient admissible evidence to file criminal charges.” 

I suppose the bodycam footage of Locke being murdered, the incident report that stated officers knew Locke’s identity within a half-hour of the incident. 

Hours before the department described Locke as a suspect or the failure to have an extensive review isn’t enough for charges.

Police have immunity from the same laws we all live under. People who receive 21 weeks of training are put on the streets as legalized vigilantes. 

In my opinion, police lives do not matter, it’s a profession, they chose this career. 

Amir Locke didn’t choose to be a Black man; he didn’t get to choose whether he was shot and killed because of the incompetence of the police, he didn’t choose to be the poster child for no-knock raids. 

Police have a choice, they have the immunity, the power the privilege. We need change–-we have to have change or else Amir Locke and all the other innocent lives taken will be in vain. 

Banning unannounced entry is the start of the major reform police departments need. 

Redistribution of police funding to support Black community members can be the start of reform. Investing in Black organizations and communities is imperative to the dismantlement of systematic racism and police departments. 

Black Americans deserve to feel safe in their own home. It is a sad truth that this is the nation we live in, where people of color can’t even have guaranteed safety in their houses. 

It shouldn’t be a privilege to feel safe, it is a basic right every American deserves. Living in fear is a life no one should be subject to. Especially in a country that is supposedly the greatest yet can’t even protect the people in it. 

Donate to the Black Lives Matter Survival Fund. Donate to The Black Visions Collective, working towards stripping power from Minneapolis police.

 Maxwell can be reached at [email protected].