Amir Locke's mother 'disgusted' after prosecutors decide not to charge officer

The mother of Amir Locke says she is "disgusted" with Minneapolis after prosecutors announced their decision to not charge the officer who shot and killed her 22-year-old son during a no-knock raid in February.

Karen Wells, mother of Amir Locke, was joined by Rev. Al Sharpton and attorney Ben Crump Wednesday afternoon in New York to address prosecutors' decision to not charge Mark Hanneman, the Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed the armed 22-year-old while serving a no-knock search warrant in February.

"I am not disappointed. I am disgusted with the city of Minneapolis," Wells said.

Wells says she is not going to give up because she knows Hanneman is guilty, even if prosecutors didn't file charges. She tells him to continue to have restless nights.

"The spirit of my baby is going to haunt you for the rest of your life," Wells said.

Locke, who had been living in Texas with his mom, was staying with family in Minnesota, including his cousin who lived at the Bolero Flats Apartment Building in downtown Minneapolis at the time police served the no-knock search warrant. His parents have said Locke, a legal gun owner, felt he needed to carry a firearm for his safety as a food delivery driver.

"My son decided that if he’s gonna go back and forth and do Instacart and DoorDash, he needed to bear arms, the legal way. He listened to myself and his father," Wells said. "He did the right thing, but at the end of the day, the Second Amendment doesn’t matter to him – he has too much melanin."

Crump said Wells had been preparing to present on a panel with other Black Americans who have lost loved ones to violence, including Ahmaud Arbery's family, at the National Action Network conference when she heard the news. 

Locke's killing continues the discussion on the safety and use of no-knock warrants. Crump, who has advocated for reform on the issue since Breonna Taylor's killing, reiterated at the news conference that no-knock warrants are unjust and unconstitutional.

Prosecutors wrote in their decision that Locke "should be alive today, and his death is a tragedy," noting that Locke was never named in the warrant nor considered a suspect in the murder. The Minneapolis police SWAT team had been conducting the early morning warrant related to a January homicide in St. Paul.

"No-knock warrants are highly risky and pose significant dangers to both law enforcement and the public, including to individuals who are not involved in any criminal activity," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison wrote in a joint statement calling for policymakers to reconsider the use of the warrants.

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey said Tuesday that a new no-knock policy, crafted in response to Locke's shooting, will take effect Friday. It would require officers to wait for a minimum of 20 seconds for all warrants after repeatedly knocking and announcing their presence before entering.

Here is the full statement from the legal team representing the family of Amir Locke:

"The family of Amir Locke is deeply disappointed by the decision not to criminally charge Minneapolis Police Officer Mark Hanneman. The tragic death of this young man, who was not named in the search warrant and had no criminal record, should never have happened. The family and its legal team are firmly committed to their continued fight for justice in the civil court system, in fiercely advocating for the passage of local and national legislation, and taking every other step necessary to ensure accountability for all those responsible for needlessly cutting Amir's life far too short. Today only deepens the resolve of Amir's family and its legal team. We hope this deepens the resolve of the community at large as well. This is only the latest reminder that we must work even harder to protect and obtain equal justice and accountability for our communities of color. No family should ever suffer like Amir's again."