Hundreds of protesters on Saturday took to the streets of downtown Minneapolis demanding justice in the fatal police shooting of a young black man, Amir Locke, during a “no-knock” raid on his apartment while serving a search warrant earlier this week.
The boisterous, but peaceful crowd, chanting Locke’s name and “no justice, no peace,” rallied at Government Plaza in Minnesota’s largest city three days after Locke, 22, was shot on his couch by police.
His family and advocates are questioning the credibility of a police department that was widely criticized for its initial portrayal of George Floyd’s death.
Locke, 22, was shot just before 7am on Wednesday after officers quietly entered a downtown apartment with a key, then loudly announced their presence, kicked a sofa where Locke had been under a comforter, then shot him when he showed a gun — all in the span of a few seconds.
Advocates were angered at a police department statement that evening that called Locke a “suspect,” even though police later said that a search warrant did not name Locke as such.
They questioned the same statement for saying the gun was “pointed in the direction of officers” when police body camera footage was less than clear.
They also denounced police for releasing photographs of a gun and bullets, calling that a character assassination of Locke, who they said had a license for the gun.
They highlighted an officer kicking the couch just seconds after entry, which they said likely awoke a deep-sleeping Locke to a confusing assault from men with guns.
His parents, Andre Locke and Karen Wells, called it an “execution.”
The department took similar criticism for its initial representation of Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, when its first statement said Floyd died after a “medical incident during a police interaction.”
Video footage from bystanders quickly told another story — Floyd died while facedown in handcuffs with a police officer’s knee on his neck — and a spokesman said then that the first report relied on a briefing from supervisors who were not on the scene.
After the body camera footage showing the Amir Locke shooting was released on Thursday night, advocates angrily confronted Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman at a news conference.
“This is what I would call the anatomy of a cover-up,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, a prominent civil rights attorney whom Frey appointed last year to a community safety work group. “This is unacceptable.”
On Friday, Amir Locke’s aunt, Linda Tyler, attacked parts of the initial police statement.
“He didn’t point the gun,” she told reporters in a news conference at the city hall. “So change the narrative. You guys need to get the story right. You will not smear my nephew’s name.”
Amir Locke’s uncle, Andrew Tyler, said officers clearly startled his nephew awake when they kicked the couch.
“You can’t kick nothing under me and then expect me to act right,” Andrew Tyler said. “What are you looking for? You’re looking to incite someone, you’re looking for a reaction. Not only are you looking for a reaction, you’re looking for time to kill. That’s what he did.”
Andrew Tyler also dismissed the police warnings, saying they were already effectively inside the apartment when they shouted out.
“It’s a lie,” he said. “It’s a lie from the get-go.”
Late on Friday, Frey announced an immediate moratorium on no-knock warrants, as well as a plan to consult with national experts to review the department’s policy.
Additional reporting by Reuters
AT WASHINGTON SUMMIT: The agreement between the US and 14 Pacific nations came half a year after the Solomon Islands struck a security deal with China The Solomon Islands has joined 13 other Pacific nations in signing a wide-reaching US-led partnership agreement, after early indications it would refuse. The 10-point US-Pacific Partnership deal was announced by the White House on Thursday evening, following the first-ever meeting between a US president and the leaders of every major Pacific nation. It includes commitments for increased action on climate change, economic development and security cooperation. Earlier, US President Joe Biden committed more than US$810 million to a new Pacific initiative. “A great deal of the history of our world is going to be written in the Indo-Pacific over the coming years
‘DEVOTED GUARDIANS’: A Chinese foreign affairs official said his nation’s diplomats would not ‘sit and do nothing while our country’s interests are being harmed’ China yesterday signaled no letup in its combative approach to foreign policy in a third term for Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) as leader despite criticism from many Western diplomats that the so-called “wolf warrior” stance has been counterproductive. As relations with the West have soured over issues from trade and human rights to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese diplomats have often been confrontational on the public stage, including on social media, a stridency that some critics see as intended for a domestic audience that nonetheless hurts its foreign ties. “We Chinese will not capitulate. We will not sit and do nothing while
ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER: Most of the escaped gas is methane, the second biggest contributor to climate change and a ‘potent greenhouse gas,’ an oceanographer said Denmark on Tuesday said it believed “deliberate actions” by unknown perpetrators were behind big leaks — which seismologists said followed powerful explosions — in two natural gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. European leaders and experts pointed to possible sabotage amid the energy standoff with Russia provoked by the war in Ukraine. Although filled with gas, neither pipeline is currently supplying it to Europe. “It is the authorities’ clear assessment that these are deliberate actions — not accidents,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said. However, she added that “there is no information indicating who could be behind it.” Frederiksen
LANDING INCIDENT: A plane with 63 passengers was shot at by ‘terrorists’ from an ethnic minority militia, state news reported, although militants denied responsibility Myanmar’s military government accused rebel forces in the eastern state of Kayah of firing at a passenger plane as it was preparing to land on Friday, wounding a passenger who was hit by a bullet that penetrated the fuselage. Rebel groups denied the allegation. Myanmar state television MRTV said the Myanmar National Airlines plane, carrying 63 passengers, was hit as it was about to land in Loikaw, the capital of the eastern state of Kayah, also known as Karenni. It cited junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun as saying the shooting was carried out by “terrorists” belonging to the Karenni National