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Minneapolis ethics board dismisses complaints filed vs. mayor after Amir Locke killing

The decision comes about a month after activists gathered in City Hall to raise concerns about how Frey and police officials had responded to the death of 22-year-old Locke, whose killing in February reignited a national debate on the use of no-knock warrants and scrutiny of the mayor's track record on police accountability issues.

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Activists gathered in City Hall on Feb. 11, 2022, before delivering over 1,300 signed copies of an ethics complaint to the city attorney's office against Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey over the killing of Amir Locke on Feb. 2.
Star Tribune / TNS
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis' Ethical Practices Board this week dismissed roughly 1,300 complaints filed against Mayor Jacob Frey over his response to the police killing of Amir Locke — and decided future complaints on the topic could be swiftly dismissed as well.

The decision comes about a month after activists gathered in City Hall to raise concerns about how Frey and police officials had responded to the death of 22-year-old Locke, whose killing in February reignited a national debate on the use of no-knock warrants and scrutiny of the mayor's track record on police accountability issues.

The Ethical Practices Board vets complaints filed against city officials; its members are appointed by the county's chief judge and deans of two law schools.

Frey in a statement Wednesday said the board's decision to dismiss the complaints was "welcomed but entirely unsurprising."

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New Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

"This stunt was always more about politics than it was about ethics, as was shown in this decision," the mayor said. "Fixing the real shortcomings in our public safety system is not advanced by performative measures."

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Representatives for the group that helped collect the ethics complaints didn't immediately comment.

The complaints were filed about a week and a half after a Minneapolis police officer killed Locke while executing a no-knock search warrant in connection with a St. Paul homicide investigation. Minneapolis SWAT officers stormed into the Bolero Apartments on Feb. 2 yelling "Search warrant!" without knocking, police body camera video showed. Locke appeared to be asleep on a couch under a blanket; he stirred after an officer kicked the couch. He had a gun in his right hand and was shot within seconds.

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Amir Locke
Courtesy of the Locke family via Jeff Storms

The ethics complaints — dubbed "The Residents' Complaint" — focused on three areas: It said Frey and police officials "misrepresented the facts" when MPD described Locke as a suspect four times in a news release, despite a lack of evidence tying him to the St. Paul killing.

It argued that Frey had a responsibility to further discipline officer Mark Hanneman, who shot Locke and was placed on administrative leave. The complaint also said officials showed "a massive failure to exercise judgment to further the best interest of the city" when police insisted on a no-knock search warrant, despite St. Paul's initial application for a standard warrant.

The majority of the complaints were dismissed for being "duplicative," keeping with the city's typical protocols. The board's order said it was dismissing the underlying complaint under Ethics Rule 7.6, which says complaints can be closed if they are "duplicative of another complaint, untimely or not meriting further investigation on its face."

Susan Trammell, the city's ethics officer, told Frey in an e-mail that "the Board went further in the order and authorized me to dismiss any future complaints on the topic without bringing them back to the board. Thus no future complaints about the Amir Locke no knock warrant situation will come before the Board."

©2022 StarTribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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