Amir Locke would still be alive if there was no “no-knock” warrant. Rev. Al Sharpton told the hundreds gathered Thursday for Amir Locke’s funeral that the 22-year-old Black man would still be alive if Minneapolis had banned “no-knock” warrants.
Rev. Sharpton was among several speakers who paid tribute to Locke and other Black people who have died in encounters with police.
The service was held at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, with songs and prayers. The service included strong condemnations of racism in policing and emphatic demands for change.
“Amir was not guilty of anything but being young and Black in America,” Sharpton said. He also said if Minneapolis had banned no-knock warrants “we wouldn’t be at a funeral this morning.”
The Rev. also noted that February is Black History Month, so he spoke about the history of slavery, how slaves had their names taken away from them and were forced to take the names of their masters. He said, Black people for too long have been seen as “nameless suspects.”
He went on to say that “Enough is enough. We are no longer going to be your nameless suspects”.
Amir Locke’s aunt, Linda Tyler, condemned racism in policing and she asked that officers stop talking about the need for more training, and instead start using de-escalation techniques on white and Black people alike.
“If it is something you simply cannot do, we just ask that you resign today instead of resigning another brother or sister to her grave,” she said. She also said she doesn’t want to hear about how policing is a difficult job.
“If you think being a police officer is a difficult profession, try to be a Black man,” she said.
Racism has shut down the lives of many black men and women.
Large portrait of Locke was displayed at the front of the church, with a white casket topped with roses and bouquets of flowers nearby.
Among those in attendance were, Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.
Locke’s death has prompted an outcry against no-knock warrants, with a push by his family and others to ban them in Minnesota and beyond.
Jacob Frey, Minneapolis Mayor, who has come under scrutiny for the city’s use of such warrants, and Minneapolis Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman did not attend.
As the service began, hundreds of people sang the hymn, before Howell led the church in prayers. The Grammy Award-winning group, Sounds of Blackness also performed. They later sang their song, “Black Lives Matter.”
Amir Locke’s burial service was held in the same church where Daunte Wright was remembered after he was killed by a suburban Minneapolis police officer in April.
Recall that’s Locke was shot by a SWAT team member shortly before 7 a.m. on Feb. 2 as officers served a no-knock search warrant in a St. Paul homicide case. Body camera video shows at least four officers using a key to quietly enter the downtown apartment where he was staying, then shouting their presence. The video shows Locke, wrapped in a comforter, stirring and holding a handgun right before an officer shot him.
Frey has imposed a moratorium on No-knock warrants while the city reexamines its policy. The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating Locke’s shooting.
The House Public Safety Committee also heard legislation that would significantly limit the use of no-knock warrants.
The bill, authored by Rep. Athena Hollins of St. Paul, only allows such warrants in a handful of exigent circumstances, such as kidnapping and human trafficking. It goes further than measures passed last year, which made it more difficult for officers to seek no-knock warrants.
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