SWAT officer in Locke shooting engaged in illegal search during previous raid
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The Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed 22-year-old Amir Locke while executing a search warrant earlier this month had previously violated the constitutional rights of another man during a high-stakes raid.
Officer Mark Hanneman’s previous work on the MPD SWAT team is detailed in court records from last year that were first identified Wednesday by the legal team for Locke’s family.
A Hennepin County judge found Hanneman had “illegally searched” a St. Paul man while executing a warrant in November 2020, according to court records reviewed by 5 INVESTIGATES. The court records only refer to the warrant as “high-risk” that was executed during daytime hours.
The man wasn’t the target of the search warrant – and Hanneman acknowledged the man didn’t pose a threat to officers.
Still, a member of the SWAT team pointed a weapon at the man, who was sitting on a couch, before Hanneman cuffed him and searched him during a raid on the home along the 3300 block of Columbus Av. S.
The man was arrested and charged after police found drugs in his pocket and a firearm in his car.
But those charges were dismissed last July after a judge found that Hanneman had put his hands in the man’s pocket despite not having probable cause to believe he had a weapon.
“The pat search of [the St. Paul man] was unconstitutional,” the judge’s ruling states. “Police were not… justified in searching [the man]” since he “was not referenced in the warrant.”
The legal team representing Locke’s family said the judge’s 2021 ruling reflects Minneapolis Police Department’s “custom and practice of engaging in unconstitutionally excessive searches and seizures.”
During a court hearing, Hanneman said he didn’t remember reaching into the man’s pocket. Court records show that Hanneman was shown body camera footage from another officer but “continued to deny” reaching into the man’s pocket.
Hanneman did not face any internal discipline related to the incident, according to his personnel file.
He was put on standard administrative leave after the SWAT team raided a downtown apartment on Feb. 2 in search of a murder suspect from St. Paul.
Video from a body worn camera showed Locke, who wasn’t the target of the no-knock warrant, was under a blanket on a couch and holding a gun. Hanneman shot Locke, who later died from the gunshot wounds.
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said they are working together to decide whether charges should be filed in the deadly Locke shooting.
The Minneapolis Police Department has not responded for comment on this story.