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Court rules Amir Locke civil rights lawsuit can proceed against Minneapolis, officer who killed him

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Court rules Amir Locke civil rights lawsuit can proceed against Minneapolis, officer who killed him


MINNEAPOLIS — The family of Amir Locke, the 22-year-old man fatally shot by police during a no-knock raid inside a downtown Minneapolis apartment building in 2022, says their civil lawsuit against the city will proceed.

On Monday, the United States District Court denied the City of Minneapolis’ motion to dismiss the wrongful death suit filed last year by Locke’s parents, Karen Wells and Andre Locke. The suit accuses the city and officer Mark Hanneman of violating Locke’s civil rights. 

The court also ruled that Hanneman wasn’t entitled to qualified immunity.

The court’s ruling emphasized “the plausibility of the plaintiffs’ claims that Officer Hanneman’s use of deadly force violated Amir Locke’s Fourth Amendment rights and that the City of Minneapolis maintained unconstitutional policies that contributed to Locke’s death.”

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The court added that footage of the deadly raid didn’t contradict the allegations made by Locke’s family in the lawsuit, and the videos “plausibly” show Locke “did not point the firearm at officers or use the weapon in a menacing way and that Amir was attempting to comply with officers’ commands.”

The lawsuit also accuses the Minneapolis Police Department of “discriminatory, race-based policing” — including excessive force and no-knock warrants — that disproportionately target people of color, citing data from a Minnesota Department of Human Rights report.  

Locke’s shooting death

Amir Locke was killed on the morning of Feb. 2, 2022, by Hanneman, during a SWAT team-led search warrant execution involving Locke’s cousin inside Bolero Flats apartments.

Police searched three apartment units connected to Mekhi Speed and his family. Locke, who was not listed on the warrant, was asleep on a couch in Speed’s brother’s unit. 

Body camera footage shows officers unlock the apartment’s door and enter with guns drawn before yelling, “police” and “search warrant.”

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Locke is seen sitting up while wrapped in a blanket, holding a handgun that his family says was legally purchased. Hanneman shoots Locke three times. The entire encounter lasts only about 10 seconds.

Amir Locke

WCCO


The searches were connected to Speed’s involvement in the marijuana-sale-related shooting death of Otis Elder days earlier in St. Paul. Speed, who wasn’t at Bolero Flats that morning, was charged with second-degree murder soon after Locke’s death. He was convicted that July and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

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No charges filed against Hanneman

In April 2022, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced their offices would not bring any criminal charges against Hanneman, citing “insufficient admissible evidence.”

“Specifically, the State 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 by Officer Hanneman,” their joint statement read. “Nor would the State be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a criminal charge against any other officer involved in the decision-making that led to the death of Amir Locke.”

Wells called the decision “disgusting.”

“Be prepared for this family, because every time you take a step, we’re going to be right behind you. This is not over,” Wells said.

Locke’s family fights for ban of no-knock warrants

Wells and the rest of her family have been pushing for a statewide ban against no-knock warrants.

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“This has got to stop,” she told WCCO in 2023. “Amir will be the face of banning no-knock warrants. He will not die in vain.”

While campaigning in 2021, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey made claims that he banned the practice. Months later, after winning a second term, Frey admitted that his claim was misleading, and the policy change he had made only required police to announce their presence before entering a residence.

“Language became more casual, including my own, which did not reflect the necessary precision or nuance. And I own that,” Frey said.

Weeks after Locke’s killing, Frey ordered police to limit the use of no-knock warrants with exceptions. Officers are now required to wait 20 seconds after announcing their presence for warrant searches, and 30 seconds for searches executed between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Frey also ordered the creation of a risk classification and evaluation system for warrants.

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Minneapolis, MN

Striking workers shut down Minneapolis Park Board meeting with three-hour protest

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Striking workers shut down Minneapolis Park Board meeting with three-hour protest


Workers who are striking the Minneapolis Park Board for the first time in the agency’s 141-year history took the fight over their stalled contract negotiations to commissioners Wednesday night, demonstrating at their meeting for three hours straight until the board was forced to adjourn without getting anything done.

Commissioners Becky Alper and Tom Olsen started the meeting by attempting to amend the agenda with a resolution directing park managers to promptly settle with union workers. They asked the Park Board’s negotiating team to offer Local 363 a proposal with market adjustments that union leaders have committed to accepting verbally and in writing, but without the contract takeaways the union calls “poison pills” — such as provisions to reduce the number of stewards, double probation time for new hires and make automatic seniority raises discretionary.

“This unprecedented situation diverts our attention from our primary mission: preserving, protecting‚ maintaining, improving and enhancing parks,” said Alper. “Without this resolution we face as the Park Board a perilous path forward. It’s one with no end in sight. It’s one where we gradually crawl out of this hole while parks deteriorate, where workers’ families are impacted without paychecks and dissatisfaction grows among the public.”

Commissioners Alper, Olsen and Billy Menz supported amending the agenda to allow discussion of the resolution. However, Park Board President Meg Forney, Vice President Cathy Abene and Commissioners Steffanie Musich, Elizabeth Shaffer and Becka Thompson rejected the amendment (Commissioner Charles Rucker was absent).

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Workers in the gallery shouted their dissatisfaction, asking why the commissioners refused to end the strike, now in its third week. The work stoppage has disrupted storm cleanup of the parks, canceled concerts at the Lake Harriet bandshell and caused maintenance jams across the system.

The only dissenter to respond was Thompson, who said she did not understand how the contract offer described in the Alper-Olsen resolution would affect the whole system. Menz, who voted to amend the agenda, added that his colleagues did not want to appear unsupportive of their negotiating team, which includes Superintendent Al Bangoura.

Kevin Pranis, Local 363′s marketing manager, said park officials were negotiating like they wanted to break the strike rather than settle it. He said it was only after seven months of stalled negotiations, and a 94% vote by Local 363 membership to authorize a strike, that the park negotiating team locked onto the “poison pill” takeaways.

“What’s happened now is that management has decided, after 140 years of Park Board history there’s never been a strike, that the goal … is now to make sure that for another 140 years no one will consider striking because they got hurt so badly in this strike,” Pranis told commissioners. “That no other union will ever consider going on strike.”

Every time commissioners attempted to move onto other business, park workers and allies from other unions formed a picket line around the board room, chanting “No contract, no peace!” and “What’s disgusting? Union busting!”

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Individual workers spoke directly to commissioners, saying they had received discipline without due process and describing grievances they have pending with managers that likely have not risen to commissioners’ attention.

As the demonstration dragged on without comments from the dais, commissioners ate their dinners and had whispered conversations with each other and park lawyer Brian Rice, while the union ordered dinner from Portillo’s.

Commissioners finally walked out of the room around 8 p.m., three hours after the meeting began, without working through the agenda. Items not acted on included a resolution to transfer $10 million from neighborhood parks across the city to the redesign of North Commons Park, and extension of the lease for the Boys and Girls Club at Phelps Park.

Terryl Brumm, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities, left the meeting early, saying that while the Club’s lease of the Phelps Recreation Center now technically expires, she was confident the Park Board won’t evict them.

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Minneapolis, MN

Pro-Palestinian protesters block Minneapolis street

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Pro-Palestinian protesters block Minneapolis street


Pro-Palestinian protesters block Minneapolis street – CBS Minnesota

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Pro-Palestinian protesters blocked the street outside Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office in downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday to protest to arrival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis man pleads guilty to bombing hair salon

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Minneapolis man pleads guilty to bombing hair salon


A man accused of using explosives to damage a Minneapolis hair salon has pleaded guilty.

United States Attorney Andrew Luger stated Tuesday in a news release that 59-year-old Michael Allen Francisco has pleaded guilty to one count of malicious use of explosive materials to damage and destroy a Minneapolis-based property.

The charges stemmed from an incident dating back to almost two years ago.

According to court documents on November 20, 2022, at approximately 2:49 AM, a homemade explosive device detonated at a hair salon.

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A Ring video camera recording from the salon was able to capture the suspect, later identified as Francisco, placing the explosive device on the window of the salon.

Almost a year later on November 6, 2023, Francisco was captured on video again damaging the same salon, this time throwing a rock through a window.

Investigators said they were able to collect DNA and other evidence connecting Francisco to both incidents.

On March 28, 2024, officers and agents executed a search warrant at Francisco’s residence.

The above photo shows the explosive materials found in Francisco’s home. (U.S. Attorney’s Office)

There, law enforcement found the jacket Francisco was wearing when he threw a rock through the window, as well as multiple explosive components, a .32 caliber revolver with ammunition and methamphetamine.

Francisco is prohibited from owning firearms or ammunition. He has yet to be sentenced for the case.

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