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Their Lying Is Getting So Lazy

Everything we know about the police killing of Amir Locke in today's Flyover.

Huffman and Frey
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Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily 1 p.m.(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Lies Our Mayor Told Us

The pattern has become achingly predictable. After a cop kills a resident, the Minneapolis Police Department issues a press release tilting the blame toward the victim. (In the case of Amir Locke, photos of the lawful gun owner’s gun were paraded by MPD). The press, lacking any reliable information, will dutifully parrot the cop storyline. (“Armed” is awfully loaded, considering Locke, who was not a suspect even though MPD called him one four times, was awake for all of four seconds before his death.) Video will emerge, and it’ll look unforgivably bad. (See bodycam footage of Locke’s killing, released yesterday). Old lies will surface (then-Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey vowed to restrict no-knock warrants, though the department bent over backwards to execute one in the Locke killing), and new lies will be blurted with lower and lower effort (this whopper from Interim Chief Amelia Huffman wouldn’t fool a toddler, nor would this one). The past will be scrubbed (no-knock vows have vanished from pro-cop/Frey group All of Mpls’s website), the narrative will be doctored with increased brazenness (see Frey and Huffman’s messy Thursday presser), and this tragic saga will repeat on a loop into the future.

MPD Release Bodycam Footage

The media, the public, and politicians throughout the state have been demanding that bodycam footage of the killing of Amir Locke be released. Last night, a 54-second video appeared on the same city website that had earlier claimed no bodycam footage would be made available. (Proceed with caution, it’s a traumatic watch.) The video shows the incident twice, in slow-motion and then in real-time. We see the police raid enter a Minneapolis apartment with a key, and make its way to Locke, who is sleeping under a comforter on a couch. We are also supposed to see Locke point a gun at an officer, according to Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman. However, that’s clearly not depicted in the video, which ends with Locke being shot to death by police seconds after waking up to their shouts and flashlights.

Transparency Transparently Fails at Not-Transparent Press Conference

You know what looks real bad? When you host a press conference about transparency and you walk out a few questions in, leaving an activist shouting about murder. That’s what happened at last night’s shit-show with Mayor Jacob Frey and Interim Chief of Police Amelia Huffman.

Frey opened by announcing that the city had released bodycam footage of cops killing Amir Locke on Wednesday in Minneapolis, but also that he made sure the family saw it before it went public, calling this a “non-negotiable” for him. Huffman outlined a few things that happened during those critical nine seconds, such as where Locke’s gun was supposedly pointed. Journalists mentioned that some of her claims aren’t clearly shown on the bodycam footage, and are even contradicted by what the footage shows. Then Nekima Levy Armstrong, who has been giving people updates on the situation via her Facebook, crashed the stage for an impromptu call-out. “When I agreed to work with you on the work group, we agreed on transparency and accountability,” the lawyer/activist said after assuring people that she is unarmed. “And here what we are seeing is business as usual.”

A journalist in the crowd questioned the ethics of Wednesday’s cop PR email blast including pics of Locke’s gun. No one responded. After another journalist asked why the release identified Locke as a suspect, while Huffman maintains that it is unclear whether or not he was, Frey and Huffman left without a word. “How is walking out of a press conference transparency?” an activist shouted. “You are a murderer! You owe us answers!” CAIR’s Jaylani Hussein then took the podium to state “This is a shame, this is what we’ve been fighting against since George Floyd was killed: running away from transparency and accountability.” Watch the whole damn thing below.

Family and Community Speak Out

Speaking with the Star Tribune Thursday, 21-year-old Ervin Locke Jr. said that his cousin wasn’t a violent person: “He was totally the opposite. All he did was crack jokes.” Those sentiments were echoed by his father, Andre Locke, in a press conference held this morning with attorney Ben Crump. “My son Amir was a good kid,” Andre said. “My son Amir was an entrepreneur. My son Amir was a law-abiding citizen who did not have a criminal history.” Crump expressed his surprise that this could happen in Minneapolis after the city was supposed to have restricted no-knock warrants and said that the department used disinformation to assassinate Amir Locke’s character. MPR’s Jon Collins has a thread here

Meanwhile, elected officials and organizations across the state are adding their voices to those who have already spoken out, including Rep. Ilhan Omar and several city councilors. The Minneapolis NAACP called Locke’s murder a modern-day lynching, while the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus said in a statement that “Black men, like all citizens, have a right to keep and bear arms. Black men, like all citizens, have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable search and seizure.” Attorney General Keith Ellison issued a statement in which he promises to “conduct a fair and thorough review,” and Governor Tim Walz issued his own toothless statement calling for further restrictions on no-knock warrants: “An investigation is underway so we don’t have all the facts yet, but a 22-year-old life ending in gunfire is a tragedy.”

Justice for Amir Rally Saturday

A car caravan protest will be held tonight at 6 p.m., beginning on the south lawn at Minneapolis City Hall. On Saturday from 3-5 p.m., Communities United Against Police Brutality, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, and other local organizations will host a rally at Peavy Plaza (1101 Nicollet Mall) to demand the arrest and prosecution of the officers who killed Locke. More information here. City Councilmember Robin Wonsley Worlobah is scheduled to hold a press conference at 3 p.m. in the City Hall rotunda.