MINNEAPOLIS — In response to news that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman will not charge the officer who killed Amir Locke, the following is a statement from Mirella Ceja-Orozco and Elizer Darris, Co-Executive Directors of the Minnesota Freedom Fund:
“The Minnesota Freedom Fund is disappointed that Mark Hanneman, the Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Amir Locke as he woke from sleep, will not face accountability for the life he took. We celebrate the life of Amir Locke, and we stand alongside his family and friends who will never see justice for Amir's death. That more of our neighbors must experience this grief is an outrage.
Legal accountability for police violence remains the exception, not the rule. But even when individual officers do face consequences in court, it has not served to stem police violence or to save the lives of our Black, brown, and Indigenous neighbors. The problems with policing are systemic, embedded in the very philosophies, histories, and institutions of modern policing.
Indicting Officer Hanneman would have been a welcome start, but we know that punishing individual officers after they have already killed someone wouldn’t be enough to bring about the systemic change that is so urgently needed.
For decades, the Minneapolis Police Department has embraced policies that make this city less safe for Black people like Amir Locke, even as the MPD and its supporters promote those policies under the banner of ‘public safety.’ Our message today is that Amir’s life mattered. Amir deserved to be safe inside his own home. And Amir should have been, and should still be, centered when we talk about how to build communities that treat all of Minnesota’s residents – regardless of the color of their skin – with respect, humanity and dignity.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund stands with Amir’s family, and we remain committed to our mission of ending cash bail and reforming the state’s broken and racist policing and criminal justice systems.”