Amelia Huffman, Minneapolis’s interim police chief, is under fire after the fatal shooting of Amir Locke by police during a no-knock warrant executed on February 2, reports the Associated Press. The warrant, which was issued in a homicide investigation, did not mention Locke. Locke’s parents say that body-camera footage of the incident shows him being awakened by officers. Police claim that Locke pointed a gun toward officers during the search, but community members have challenged that account. Huffman was accused by an activist of perpetrating a coverup when she made that claim as a justification for the shooting.
Despite Huffman’s varied stints in her 28-year career, including work in internal affairs and commanding the homicide unit, she was a relative unknown among activists when she took over in January after the retirement of Medaria Arradondo. The Locke incident has prompted some to call for her firing. Some complain that Huffman is protecting officers at the expense of accountability and transparency. Others question whether she has the proper perspective to transform the department. Huffman's supporters claim that she has been a compassionate professional throughout her career, and that she is a policy expert. Huffman has been an advocate of community policing and improving training standards for officers. As deputy chief under Arradondo, Huffman led training of officers to intervene when a colleague is unduly placing a citizen in danger. Mayor Jacob Frey has stood by Huffman while the city continues a national search for its next police chief. The controversy comes in the wake of a failed voter referendum to disband the police department in favor of a new public safety department.