Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will not be attending Thursday's funeral for Amir Locke, the man who was fatally shot by police early this month in a downtown apartment, and the bishop officiating the service said the city's Police Department leadership should also not attend.
The 22-year-old Locke will be eulogized during the funeral at Shiloh Temple International Ministries on West Broadway in north Minneapolis, where noted civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton will give the eulogy.
Shiloh Temple Bishop Richard Howell Jr. said someone from Frey's office called him Tuesday with his decision.
"He is not coming," Howell said. "He's respecting the family's wishes, unless there is an invitation. It doesn't seem like he's going to get an invitation." The service is open to the public.
Frey spokeswoman Tara Niebeling confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the mayor will not be at the funeral, nor will his office be sending anyone in his place.
Asked whether Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman or other high-ranking MPD personnel should attend, Howell said, "Oh, gosh no. Due to the nature of how the death came about, I don't think it would be wise for anyone from the Police Department."
Officer Garrett Parten said without elaboration that "the Minneapolis Police Department will not be in attendance."
In June 2020, Frey and the police chief at the time, Medaria Arradondo, both were at the funeral in Minneapolis for George Floyd, who died while in police custody under the knee of Derek Chauvin in late May of that year.
The mayor had a front-row seat with other high-level dignitaries and took a moment to kneel at Floyd's casket while appearing to sob, according to video captured from the service. Arradondo paid his respects wearing his dress uniform, and knelt and bowed his head as Floyd's hearse passed by.
Howell said he has been notified that Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan have said they will be there to pay their respects to Locke and his family. The bishop said he's also received the same word from North Side City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison.
State Attorney General Keith Ellison, the council member's father, will not be at the funeral. His office is reviewing whether the officer who shot Locke, Mark Hanneman, was justified in his actions on Feb. 2 in the Bolero Flats apartment or warrant criminal charges.
The funeral is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., with a public viewing planned for 10 a.m. A family processional will be held in the moments leading up to the service and will include Locke's parents, Andre Locke and Karen Wells.
The bishop said his house of worship is prepared to receive roughly 1,500 attendees, and Locke's service will be livestreamed on the temple's Facebook page. Music will be provided by the Sounds of Blackness, James Grear & Co. and the Shiloh Temple choir.
Ben Crump, who has represented numerous Black families who have lost loved ones to police actions, said he will deliver a "call to justice" during the service.
Sharpton eulogized Floyd. Crump represented the Floyd family and won a $27 million wrongful-death settlement with the city.
Locke was shot while a Minneapolis SWAT team executed a "no-knock" search warrant in connection with a St. Paul homicide case.
Hanneman shot Locke in the early-morning raid as Locke emerged from under a blanket on a couch while holding a gun. Police were not searching for Locke, and he was not named in the warrants.
A Hennepin County judge approved the no-knock warrant in order to "decrease the risk for injuries to the suspects and other residents" because the individuals they sought had violent criminal histories and were known to be armed, according to court documents unsealed last week.
The predawn raid stemmed from the fatal shooting of 38-year-old Otis Elder during an apparent drug transaction Jan. 10 outside a music recording studio in St. Paul. The latest court filings accuse Locke's 17-year-old cousin, Mekhi Speed, and others with him of "attempting to rob [Elder] of money and/or drugs."
Speed, of Minneapolis, was charged last week with second-degree murder in connection with Elder's killing. He remains in custody before a court hearing March 16 to address the request from the Ramsey County Attorney's Office to move his case to adult court.