Sharpton: Locke was only guilty of being ‘black in America’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Reverend Al Sharpton told hundreds gathered for Amir Locke’s funeral Thursday that the 22-year-old black man who was shot by Minneapolis police while serving a search warrant no-hit was not at fault when he was killed.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Reverend Al Sharpton told hundreds gathered for Amir Locke’s funeral Thursday that the 22-year-old black man who was shot by Minneapolis police while serving a search warrant no-hit was not at fault when he was killed.

“Amir was guilty of nothing but being young and black in America,” Sharpton said.

Other speakers at Locke’s funeral at the Shiloh Temple International Ministries condemned the police for the events leading up to Locke’s murder, remembering Locke and other black people who died in encounters with police.

Sharpton said if Minneapolis had passed a ban on no-knock warrants “we wouldn’t be at a funeral this morning.”

Locke’s aunt, Linda Tyler, spoke out against racism in the police and demanded that officers stop talking about the need for additional training and instead start using de-escalation techniques on whites and blacks.

“If it’s something you just can’t do, we’re just asking you to quit today instead of quitting another sibling at their grave,” she said. She also said she didn’t want to hear about how hard policing is.

“If you think being a police officer is a difficult profession, try being a black man,” she said, as the crowd erupted in cheers.

As the service began, those assembled were asked to “Say his name” and they responded with “Amir Locke”. A large portrait of Locke was displayed in the front of the church, with a white coffin topped with roses and bouquets of flowers nearby. Minnesota Democratic Governor Tim Walz and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter were among those present.

Locke’s death caused an outcry over no-knock warrants, with pressure from his family and others to ban them in Minnesota and beyond.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who has come under scrutiny for the city’s use of such warrants, and Acting Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman were not present. Shiloh Temple Bishop Richard Howell Jr. told the Star Tribune that Frey would not attend without the family’s invitation.

As the service began, hundreds of people sang the hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before Howell led the church in a prayer. Members of the Grammy Award-winning group Sounds of Blackness also performed.

The service was held at the same church where Daunte Wright is remembered after he was killed by a suburban Minneapolis police officer in April. Sharpton, while presiding over Wright’s funeral, denounced “the stench of police brutality”.

Locke was shot by a SWAT team member shortly before 7 a.m. Feb. 2 as officers signed a search warrant in a St. Paul homicide case. Body camera video shows at least four officers using a key to sneak into the downtown apartment where he was staying, then shouting their presence. The video shows Locke, wrapped in a duvet, fidgeting and holding a handgun just before an officer shoots him.

Locke was not named in the warrant and did not live in the apartment. Family members called his killing an “execution”, noting that the video shows an officer kicking the couch and suggested Locke jolted awake and was disoriented. They also pushed back at police saying Locke was shot after pointing his gun at officers.

Frey has placed a moratorium on those terms while the city reviews its policy. The State Bureau of Criminal Arrest is investigating Locke’s shooting.

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Find full AP coverage of Amir Locke’s death at: https://apnews.com/hub/amir-locke

Mohamed Ibrahim and Amy Forliti, The Associated Press












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