Calls grow for release of bodycam video in fatal MPD shooting

A group of state lawmakers is calling for the release of body camera video after police shot and killed a man in a Minneapolis apartment on Wednesday.

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The Minneapolis delegation in the Minnesota House of Representatives says it sent a letter to Mayor Jacob Frey and Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman calling for the footage to be released.

The 10 DFL lawmakers said in the letter that any further delays plus “their rationale, and a timeline for release must be made clear to the public.”

Huffman said the shooting happened at 6:48 a.m. Wednesday on the seventh floor of Bolero Flats apartments. Officers executing a search warrant used a key fob to get into the apartment, announced themselves and were met by a man holding a gun at them, Huffman said.

The man — who civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong said family members identified as Amir Locke — was taken to a hospital but was later pronounced dead. A Minneapolis Fire Department incident report indicates he was shot three times.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting.

In their letter, the state lawmakers highlighted “strained relations and lack of trust between the community and the Minneapolis Police Department” over the past few years and said releasing bodycam footage of Wednesday’s shooting is “essential.”

“We urge you to think creatively with the current laws to release the footage. And we stand ready to support you in your efforts to update state laws so that these delays are no longer a roadblock to the transparency that you and the community seek,” the letter states.

Frey’s office released a statement saying he was “committed to ensuring the family has had an opportunity to review the body camera footage prior to the public release of it.”

“He is working with the MPD and BCA to ensure that the footage is released as quickly as possible without compromising the BCA’s ability to collect evidence and overall integrity of the investigation,” the statement continues.

In a news conference Thursday night, civil rights activists once again called for transparency and accountability from Mayor Frey and the Minneapolis Police Department.

The release of all body camera footage and the search warrant application, along with the firing of Mark Hanneman — the officer who police say shot Locke — were among their demands.

“We want answers,” said Michelle Gross, president of activist group Communities United Against Police Brutality. “We need to see that search warrant application, we need to see the body camera footage, we need to know the absolute full transparency about every aspect of this incident.”

Levy Armstrong said family told her Locke was not listed on the search warrant and was staying with a family member and was asleep on the couch when the Minneapolis police SWAT team came through the door of the apartment. She also said Locke was a licensed gun owner and that MPD’s decision to release photos of his firearm was an attempt to “justify what happened.”

“The police created that threat. The police created the violence,” Levy Armstrong said in the news conference. “Police opened fire and killed a young black man who was not even a part of the warrant. It’s unacceptable.”

A Minneapolis Police Department spokesman told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there were plans to release the body camera video Thursday night.