Attorney General Keith Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman were wrong in deciding not to bring charges against Minneapolis police officer Mark Hanneman in the killing of Amir Locke

Media Contact–

Media Contact: Pete Gamades
Email address: pete.gamades@gmail.com
Phone: 612-310-6151

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 6, 2022

Attorney General Keith Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman were wrong in deciding not to bring charges against Minneapolis police officer Mark Hanneman in the killing of Amir Locke

 

Minneapolis, Minnesota

We are appalled at the decision made by Attorney General Keith Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to not charge Mark Hanneman with murder for the shooting and killing of Amir Locke. On February 2, 2022, Amir Locke was shot and killed by Mark Hanneman within nine seconds of police officers executing a no-knock warrant on the apartment where he was sleeping. Amir Locke was not the subject of the warrant and was not a suspect.

“The justice system continues to demonstrate that it does not value the lives of Black men and systematically chooses to not hold police officers accountable when they traumatize, hurt, and kill Black men without justification, said Nekima Levy Armstrong, attorney and founder of the Racial Justice Network. “This is yet another heinous example that proves Minnesota does not believe that Black Lives Matter.

The circumstances that led to the killing of Amir Locke on February 2 should never have existed. The Attorney General and Hennepin County Attorney acknowledged this fact. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey had previously told the community that he had banned no-knock warrants. He lied and as a result Amir Locke is dead.

Yesterday, the mayor released yet again another “ban” on no knock warrants with significant loopholes including if MPD believes that destruction of evidence may occur if they wait to enter a property. Additionally, the new policy does not describe a mechanism that will monitor the adherence to the new policy. It is understandable that we have a lack of trust in this mayor.

The Racial Justice Network demands the following:

  • Mayor Jacob Frey fire officer Mark Hanneman and all other officers involved in this “banned” no-knock warrant;

  • The city of Minneapolis conduct an after-action review regarding this incident to determine which, if any, MPD policies were violated and to make the report public;

  • Mayor Jacob Frey updates his new “no-knock” warrant policy to remove easy loopholes such as the “destruction of evidence”; and

  • Mayor Jacob Frey develop a mechanism to validate adherence to the new no-knock warrant policy and delivers swift  and appropriate discipline when officers violate the new policy.

“If Mayor Jacob Frey is unwilling to make these simple changes, he needs to resign,” said Pete Gamades, member of the Racial Justice Network. “His irresponsible lie led to the unnecessary police killing of Amir Locke and he needs to be held accountable.”

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines. racialjusticenetwork.com


Guilty verdicts against former officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane send a strong message for Police Accountability, yet additional work is still needed

Media Contact–

Media Contact: Pete Gamades
Email address: pete.gamades@gmail.com
Phone: 612-310-6151

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 25, 2022

Guilty verdicts against former officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane send a strong message for Police Accountability, yet additional work is still needed

 

Twin Cities, Minnesota

Yesterday, a federal jury found former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights when they aided fellow officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, failed to intervene, and failed to render medical treatment. We are thankful that the jury found these former officers guilty. It is another step towards police accountability. These verdicts are a result of the multi-year long persistence of Black leaders and allies in our community who continue to demand justice.

“A guilty verdict was the only appropriate result in the heinous murder of George Floyd.” said  Nekima Levy Armstrong, founder of the Racial Justice Network. “Those former officers never saw the humanity of George Floyd. It shouldn’t take a global uprising to get justice for the murder of a Black man. I’m glad the jury listened to the evidence and decided to hold those three officers accountable under the law.”

The guilty verdicts in this case indicate small cracks are happening in a system that still rarely holds police officers accountable when they murder Black people. These convictions are important. However, without a strong penalty by the Court at the sentencing phase, guilty verdicts fail to truly deliver justice and accountability. This recently happened when Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu sentenced former officer Kim Potter, who is white, to just 24 months after being convicted of first and second degree manslaughter for the death of Daunte Wright, a Black father. This slap on the wrist was far below the sentencing guidelines range. Contrast that to the five year sentence of former officer Mohamed Noor, a Black man, for a lesser charge of third degree manslaughter in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a white woman. Judge Chu is perpetuating the racial bias that is deeply ingrained within the criminal justice system. She was able to empathize with Kim Potter, a white woman, in a way she was not able to empathize with Daunte Wright and his family.

“Attorney General Keith Ellison needs to use his authority to appeal the sentencing of Kim Potter.” said Sonja Western. “The criminal legal system consistently offers little empathy and compassion for Black people convicted of lesser crimes. This short sentence is unconscionable, unacceptable, and needs to be challenged.”

As we celebrate this guilty verdict, much work remains to be done in transforming the system of policing in Minnesota and around the nation. To that end, Racial Justice Network demands the following: 

  • We demand that former officers Kueng, Lane and Thao are sentenced to the maximum extent under law for their actions.

  • We demand that Attorney General Keith Ellison appeal the sentencing of Kim Potter and demand a longer sentence within the sentencing guidelines range.

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines. racialjusticenetwork.com