The Minneapolis Police Department’s national scandals are so countless they’re starting to stack up. The killing of Amir Locke during a no-knock raid just recently has yet again brought the department’s violent tactics about once again. Some of the same officers who were already involved in that raid are attached to another major MPD scandal: The “hunting” of protesters who had to deal with the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder.
There were two members of SWAT teams that were assigned to the Locke raid which also took part in the Minneapolis PD’s wanton aggression against the citizens that were out after curfew in late May 2020. Riot cops were ordered to drive around the city, aim at protesters and others on the street with less-lethal equipment and, “Fuck ‘em up.” A commander was caught on a body camera hyping this activity as a “goin’ out hunting.” There has been no accountability for officers on duty that night.
Now there is a police incident report that records that two officers named in a civil suit from the hunting scandal, Kristopher Dauble and Nathan Sundberg, were assigned to the Feb. 2 raid that killed Locke. (Neither one of them was involved in the shooting of the Locke case.) “I’m concerned that these officers, involved prior use-of-force issues, are still operating in high-risk operations,” attorney Eric Rice tells Rolling Stone.
Rice is a representative for Jaleel Stallings, who was fired with less-lethal rounds by cops cruising in an unmarked white van on the night of May 30, 2020. Stallings believed he was threatened and under attack by criminals and fired back with a pistol. (No one got hit.) Only then do the police identify themselves. Stallings was allegedly beaten very badly while surrendering. He suffered a fractured eye socket and was later put on trial for serious criminal charges, including attempted second-degree murder and first-degree assault.
There had been a jury that acquitted Stallings, agreeing he’d acted in self-defense. He had recently filed a federal civil suit against nearly 20 Minneapolis police officers. The allegations were that officer Dauble “pointed a 40mm launcher” a less-lethal gun that shoots foam-tipped impact rounds “and attempted to shoot at Mr. Stallings in violation of his constitutional rights.” Sundberg, who was also there and rode beside Dauble in the van, is sued for allegedly failing to intervene when he “saw unnecessary force being used against Mr. Stallings.” Both officers are being sued for “conduct that shocked the conscience when they participated in a recklessly-flawed investigation” that produced criminal charges against Stallings.
Amir Lock, only 22, was shot to death in the morning hours of Feb. 2. The Minneapolis police were following through a no-knock raid on a seventh-floor apartment, on the behalf of the homicide unit of the Saint Paul Police Department. Locke wasn’t even a suspect named in the warrant. According to court documents released on Feb 8, Locke was staying at the apartment of his cousin.
Police body camera footage shows officers using a key to enter the apartment shortly before 7 a.m. They then announced their presence after opening the door. Locke was seen, awakening and startled under a blanket, reaching for a handgun. (Locke’s family presses that he owned the firearm legally.) Locke was then shot dead by an officer identified as Mark Hannerman. The encounter only lasted 10 seconds. The police were searching for a 17-year-old, Mekhi Speed, a suspect in a second-degree homicide case.
He was also a cousin of Locke’s, Speed sometimes stayed in the apartment where the killing took place, which was rented to his brother’s girlfriend. Speed’s mother rents an apartment in the same complex that was also searched. They could not find Speed in the building on the day of the raid; he was apprehended on Feb. 6 in Winona, a town more than 100 miles from Minneapolis.
Locke’s killing has drawn comparison to the murder of Breonna Taylor and has sparked national protests, as well as drawing criticism from different diverse corners including the NAACP and the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus.
Although George Floyd’s killer, Derek Chauvin, is now serving a 22-year prison sentence for murder, Minneapolis PD has not materialized leaving Minnesota law enforcement leaders fed up. “I’m telling you, from the top down, that agency needs an overhaul,” Sheriff Sean Deringer of neighboring Wright County declared in December, stating he was “appalled by the lack of leadership” in the department. Derringer made it clear that the reputation of law enforcement officials across the state was suffering because they were “all cast in the same barrel of crap coming out of Minneapolis proper.”