By Chinta Strausberg
Rainbow PUSH Coalition officials Sunday called for a moratorium on all no-knock warrants after the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Amir Locke by a Minneapolis policeman during an early morning raid.
Bishop Tavis Grant said he and Reverend Jesse Jackson will meet with the Locke family. Grant said this case is akin to that of Breonna Taylor, who was killed during a no-knock warrant process, and several other cases nationwide.
“The officers often times don’t have the proper intel, similar to what happened to Anjanette Young, when officers raided the wrong house.” Young was handcuffed by the Chicago police and left naked for more than 30 minutes. She received a $2.9 million settlement as a result.
What happened to Taylor is similar to Locke’s case which resulted in his death just like the others. Grant said Locke comes from a family of law enforcement officers and that the police officer who shot him must be held accountable.
“This week, Reverend Jackson will call for a moratorium on no knock warrants, which are dangerous both for the police officers but more so to the general public,” said Grant.
“These warrants do not serve the purpose of safety protection and justice. There must be a moratorium. The loss of life is incredible. We are praying for the Locke family and the community of Minnesota and that we get justice for Amir Locke,” said Grant.
The nightmare for the Locke family began last Wednesday, February 2, when a Minneapolis police officer used a key to open the door of another no-knock raid, killing the youth as he slept under a blanket on his couch. Amir Locke was not the target of the warrant.
Five SWAT officers entered the apartment around 6:48 a.m., according to a video recorded by a police body cam. According to a Reuters report, it showed the policemen yelling: “Police, search warrant, get on the ground, get on the f…. ground.”
The video cam reportedly showed a police officer kicking the couch then showing Locke pulling the blanket back holding a gun. Then, three shots could be heard. According to CNN, Locke was shot by officer Mark Hanneman who was placed on administrative leave.
Referring to former Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts, Grant said there are more than 100 cased tied to the corrupt officer with many of these cases involving drug convictions being overturned by the Cook County prosecutors.
Watts and officer Kallatt Mohammed were convicted in federal court after being caught in a sting operation taking $5,200 from an FBI mole. Both officers pled guilty with Watts being sentenced to 22 months in a federal prison and Mohammed, 18 months.
Echoing what Reverend Jackson once said, Grant said, “We want police patrol not police control. The only way that can be rectified is through federal intervention.”
Grant said these cases as well as the one involving former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke who shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, cannot be solved quickly.
“Those who look for a knock off case in 12 rounds need to be prepared to go all the way. We know there is a spirit across the country since the summer of unrest. We marched by the thousands all over America.
“Yet, today still there is no passage of the George Floyd Justice Act, or the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, or the Freedom or Electoral Act,” Grant said.
Referring to the Supreme Court, which consists of Trump appointees, Grant said, “Our people must waken to the reality that affirmative action, voting rights, Brown vs. Board of Education can be wiped out this summer.
“We cannot and will not be worn out. We got to go all of the way and fight every step of the way,” Grant said.
Attorneys for the Locke family, Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci and Jeff Storms issued this statement:
“Despite the deplorable lack of transparency from the Minneapolis PD in the brutal and senseless killing of Amir Locke, we are continuing to learn more about the disturbing details that led to Amir’s death.
“Today, it was reported that the search warrant used to enter the residence where Amir was staying was changed from a ‘knock’ warrant to a ‘no-knock’ warrant at the insistence of the Minneapolis police. This inexplicable, yet deliberate choice needlessly ended Amir’s life.
“It’s past time that the Minneapolis PD be transparent and accountable to Amir’s family and the community that they are sworn to protect.
“No-knock raids at the hands of law enforcement continue to take the lives of innocent Black people. We ask that just as people raised their voices for Breonna Taylor, they do the same for Amir Locke. Enough is enough.”