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Hundreds mourn Amir Locke, a Black man killed by US police

The casket of Amir Locke, a Black man who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police, is brought to the hearse at the Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, February 17, 2022. (Reuters photo)

Hundreds of people have gathered to mourn Amir Locke, a Black man who was fatally shot by police during a raid on his apartment earlier this month.

Locke, 22, was shot on Feb. 2 by officers carrying out a so-called no-knock search warrant on the apartment in Minneapolis.

His death was the latest in a series of killings by law enforcement that provoked outrage over police brutality against Black Americans.

A police bodycam video shows an officer using a key to unlock the door and then a SWAT team entering the apartment while shouting, "Police, search warrant!" They open fire as soon as Locke, sleeping on a couch, starts to rise from beneath a blanket, with a gun in his hand.

The total time between the officers' entrance and the shots fired was less than ten seconds. Locke died from his wounds in hospital. An incident report said he had two wounds in the chest and one in the right wrist.

Protests over his death in downtown Minneapolis have drawn hundreds of demonstrators demanding justice and a ban on no-knock warrants.

Activists at the protests argued Locke had a right to possess a weapon in his home, noting he was never given the chance to disarm himself in the chaotic moments as officers stormed into his apartment without warning.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a powerful and emotional eulogy at Thursday's funeral for Locke after a public viewing at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, a church that serves a metropolitan area where two high-profile killings of Black men drew national attention in the past years.

“Amir was not guilty of anything other than being young and Black in America,” said Sharpton, who leads the civil rights non-profit National Action Network.

Karen Wells speaks during a funeral for her son Amir Locke, while joined onstage by Andre Locke Sr., Locke's father, Rev. Al Sharpton and attorney Ben Crump (R) at the Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, February 17, 2022. (Reuters photo)

He called for action from local politicians to pass laws banning no-knock warrants.

"If they had passed the no-knock law in Minneapolis, we wouldn't be at a funeral this morning," Sharpton said from the pulpit. "I stand here to say you are going to pass the Amir Locke law. Enough is enough. We are no longer going to be your nameless suspects."

Relatives of George Floyd and Botham Jean, both Black, who were also killed at the hands of police, were present at Locke's funeral.

Locke’s death has been compared with the killing of Floyd, who died when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck in May 2020. Floyd’s death, captured on a video that went viral, sparked a summer of protests over racial injustice across the United States and abroad.                                      

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