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Sharpton: Locke wouldn't be alive if there was no-knock warrant

The Rev. Al Sharpton informed the hundreds of people who gathered for Amir Locke’s funeral on Thursday that the 22-year old Black man would still live if Minneapolis had prohibited no-knock warrants.

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Sharpton: Locke wouldn't be alive if there was no-knock warrant

Sharpton was one of many speakers to pay tribute to Locke, and other Black victims of police encounters. The Shiloh Temple International Ministries service included song and prayer as well as strong condemnations and demands for change.

Sharpton stated that Amir was innocent of any crime except being young and Black in America. He stated that if Minneapolis had prohibited no-knock warrants, "we wouldn’t be at this morning's funeral."

Sharpton also mentioned that February is Black History Month. He spoke about the history and slavery of slavery. Sharpton described how slaves were forced to adopt the names of their masters and had their names taken from them. Sharpton stated that Black people have been treated too often as "nameless suspects".

"Enough is enough. Sharpton stated, "We are not going to continue being your nameless suspects," as the crowd applauded.

Funeral-goers were asked earlier in the service to "Say His Name." They replied: "Amir Locke."

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.

She said, "If you think that being a police officer can be difficult, then try being a Black man," as the crowd cheered.

The church featured a large portrait of Locke, as well as a white casket with roses and bouquets nearby. Minnesota Democratic Governor. Tim Walz, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, were also present.

The death of Locke has caused a furore against no-knock warrants. His family 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. Richard Howell Jr., Shiloh Temple Bishop, told the Star Tribune that Frey wouldn't attend the service unless invited by the family.

Before Howell led the congregation in prayer, hundreds sang "Lift Every Voice and sing" as the service began. The Grammy Award-winning band Sounds of Blackness performed as well. Later, they sang "Black Lives Matter"

After Daunte Wright's April killing by a Minneapolis police officer, the service was held at the same church. , Sharpton's presider at Wright's funeral decried the "stench of police brutality."

Locke was shot and killed by a SWAT member just before 7 a.m. Feb. 2, as officers executed a no-knock warrant in an unsolved St. Paul murder case. A body camera video showsat most four officers quietly entering the downtown apartment where Locke was staying and then shouting. 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.

During the funeral, the House Public Safety Committee heard legislation which would substantially limit the use no-knock warrants.

Rep. Athena Hollins, of St. Paul, wrote the bill. It only allows warrants for such circumstances in a few exigent situations, like kidnapping or human trafficking. This bill is more extensive than the last-year's measures, which made it harder for officers to obtain no-knock warrants.

Last year's legislation required that no-knock warrant applications be approved by a chief police officer and another supervisor. The law requires that officers explain why they can't search a residence or detain suspects during daytime hours, and state whether the warrant is feasible to execute.

Many activists who supported the bill were supportive of it and urged lawmakers to approve it. They called last year's legislation "watered-down" and said that they needed the new legislation to fulfill their state's needs. They shook their heads when asked if they had spoken to Senate Republicans.

Nekima Levy, a civil rights attorney, said that the family congratulated themselves and claimed they had passed several police accountability bills. It's laughable. It's insulting to our intelligence. Now another Black family has lost their sons, nephews, cousins, and community member due to the absurd use of a "no-knock warrant."


 

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