Mr. Amir Locke, Black life still remains incredibly cheap in twenty-first America.
There is a saying, along the lines of “the perfect definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and
over again and expecting a different result every time.” And insanity can take many forms, especially so
in a US context. Even more so when considering the continuing brutality of American police against
innocent Black citizens.
Once again, we here at TIPNation need to flag up yet another police outrage,
this time the execution, for that is what it was, of Amir Locke in February of this year. Another Black
man dead, in cold blood, and another cop / police department that brazenly gets away with it.
On the morning of February 2, 2022 at approximately 06.48 am, Locke was sound asleep, oblivious to
the fact that he was mere moments away from having his life violently ended. As he slept, SWAT
officers from the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), broke through the door of an apartment that
he was staying in, and awoke him from deep sleep with a massive startle.
This was a “no knock” police operation in which the officers simply crash their way into a venue, guns
drawn. (The police action was part of a search warrant that related to a nearby murder). There was no
time for Locke to gather his thoughts and himself as he lurched out of sleep. Within less than ten
seconds, Locke was shot three times by Officer Mark Hanneman. The police body-cam showed Locke
holding a gun, which was then used as their justification for killing him. This of course conveniently
overlooks that Locke wasn’t using the weapon or even maliciously pointing it at anyone – it was simply
by his side when he was abruptly awakened by the police operation. He was a threat to no-one and in
the few seconds that the police were in the apartment while he was still alive, he showed no sign or
intent of aggression or intent to use of the firearm.
Consequently, officer Hanneman’s itchy-trigger
finger happily unleashed lead into Locke, shooting him twice in the chest and once in the arm.
This Wild West approach to policing, that they are on such tiny margins of error that shoot first and ask
questions second is acceptable, is absolutely unacceptable. For cops to be going into any operation, let
alone a “no knock” situation, with that mind-set and with arteries flooded with cortisol and adrenaline,
senses buzzing, is no basis for any sort of policing. Yet the state attorney general, Keith Ellerson,
subsequently decreed that Hanneman would face no charges, despite Hanneman and the MPD having
Locke’s blood on their hands. Of course, hands were wrung and pearl necklaces were clutched, for a
short while, by the police and the rest of the white privilege Establishment. And then, as it always does,
they just carry on their merry way until such time as the next White cop on Black man execution takes
place. Which, sickeningly, is never too far away.
Not only is this travesty insanity, it is an insanity that comes drenched in blood. In the overwhelming
number of similar cases over the years, the police inevitably protect their own, the Establishment looks
the other way, and the headlines quickly move on to something else. However, the pain stays with the
family and friends of the slain forever. And we at TIPNation will forever remember each and every
innocent Black citizen that is murdered by an out of control, militarized police. And we will forever
continue to highlight and demonstrate these horrific incidents. If needs be, we’d happily shut down
Minnesota in the name of Locke. We are sick of this. We are tired of this. But we will never back down.
Locke was butchered in less than ten seconds. That was all it took, despite his being completely
innocent, to be slaughtered by Hanneman.
Black life still remains incredibly cheap in twenty-first
America. The “Blue Lives Matter” brigade invariably came crawling out of the pseudo-fascist woodwork,
screaming that the police had “no other option. It still hasn’t dawned on them, and it likely never will,
that a “Blue Life” can take his or her uniform off. A Black person does not have that same luxury, and
nor should they ever have to.
That we are still having to call out police brutality is not only depressing,
but insane in that the same thing keeps happening, and inevitably, the end result is the same – yet more
spilled Black blood.
Amir’s name will forever be honored and justice will ultimately prevail.