Sharpton: Locke was only guilty of being 'Black In America'
MINNEAPOLIS, (AP) -- Rev. Al Sharpton explained to the hundreds of mourners gathered for Amir Locke's funeral that the 22-year old Black man shot by Minneapolis police while they executed a no-knock warrant for his arrest had done nothing wrong.
Sharpton stated that Amir was innocent of any crime, except being young and Black in America.
Others spoke at Locke’s funeral at Shiloh Temple International Ministries and condemned police for Locke’s death. They also remembered Locke, and other Black victims of police brutality.
Sharpton stated that if Minneapolis had banned no-knock warrants, "we wouldn’t be at a Funeral this Morning."
Sharpton also spoke out about Black History Month. He talked about slavery and how slaves were forced to adopt the names of their masters. Sharpton said that Black people have been viewed as "nameless suspects" for too long.
Linda Tyler, Locke's aunt, condemned racism in police work and demanded that officers stop talking of the need for additional training and instead use de-escalation techniques against both white and black people.
She said, "If it's something you just cannot do, we just ask you to resign today rather than resigning another brother/sister to her grave." She said that she didn't want to hear about the difficult work of policing.
As the crowd cheered, she stated, "If you think that being a police officer can be difficult, then try to become a Black man."
The church featured a large portrait of Locke, with a white casket that was adorned with roses and bouquets nearby. Minnesota Democratic Governor. Tim Walz, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter were also present.
Locke's passing has sparked outrage against no-knock warrants. His family and others have pushed to ban them in Minnesota, and elsewhere.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman were not present. Frey has been under fire for using such warrants. The Star Tribune was informed by Richard Howell Jr., Shiloh Temple Bishop, that Frey wouldn't attend without invitation from his family.
Before Howell led the congregation in prayer, hundreds sang "Lift Every Voice and sing" as the service began. The service was also attended by members of the Grammy Award-winning band Sounds of Blackness. This was the church where Daunte was remembered in April when he was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Sharpton presided over Wright's funeral and decried the "stench of police brutality".
Locke was shot and killed by a SWAT member as officers executed a search warrant in connection with a St. Paul murder case. The body camera video captures at least four officers quietly entering the downtown apartment Locke was staying in, and then shouting their presence. Locke is shown in the video wrapped in a comforter and holding a gun right before an officer shoots him.
Locke was not named in the warrant, and he did not reside at the apartment. His killing was called an "execution" by his family. The video of an officer kick the sofa shows Locke being startled awake and disoriented. They also claimed that Locke was killed when he pointed his gun at police officers.
Frey has placed a moratorium against such warrants while the City reexamines their policy. Locke's death is under investigation by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.