If it happens to me, what keeps happening to us in Minnesota, please tell my story.
If I, like Amir Locke, am resting underneath a comforter on someone's couch and I am erased by officers who burst through my door on a no-knock warrant before sunrise, just as it appeared I'd cornered my life's dreams, please don't let them tell you I deserved this.
Ask them to talk to my parents. They'll tell you who I was, as their tears hit the dais with cameras and reporters gathered to document another police killing in a place that is now a perpetual crime scene.
"[Amir Locke] was respectful of law enforcement," Karen Wells, Locke's mother, told reporters last week. "I was overjoyed with Amir as my son. Amir was loved by all, hated by none."
If it happens to me, what happens to us, investigate the investigation and ask the questions that must be answered. Remember, I had not done anything wrong when their bullets found me, the way they also found Amir and Philando and Daunte — the way Derek Chauvin's habitual violence stole George's life, too.
If it happens to me, what only seems to happen to us, do not accept their initial statements, either. There are always two sides but the one side keeps killing the other in Minnesota.
Every time attorney Ben Crump begins to go home, he is called back. Our funerals get strong ratings on national TV and they're already on their ninth season. After the killing of Amir Locke by Minneapolis police on Wednesday morning, they have been renewed for another.
If it happens to me, check your local listings for more information. An announcement from Keith Ellison and a statement from Rep. Ilhan Omar will come soon. This happens so often, we have a routine now. I wish we weren't so good at this.
But if it happens to me, and it happens when my girls are in my backseat, you should know I was not a threat. I wouldn't put them at risk. I was only reaching for my license and following commands. Tell them I had big goals and ambitions. Tell them I was, like Amir, looking toward a future that never arrived.
"My heart ripped out of my body … to see his life taken from him," Andre Locke, the father of the 22-year-old who was killed by Minneapolis police officers serving a warrant as part of a St. Paul police murder investigation, said about seeing the video of his son's shooting. "They had [an] opportunity to de-escalate. They had [an] opportunity to go about it a different way. They had a team over him already."
If it happens to me, and they search my trunk and claim they found something suspicious, just know it is not true. They'll only find our roller skates and softball bats. They are the things that make my daughters smile when they're with their father. I keep them with me because you never know when the sun will shine and the grass might dry up and the fields could be ripe for a spontaneous batting practice.
So if it happens to me, in the middle of the night, and they fire bullets through the wall just as I am trying to get rest after a long day, or if it happens during a traffic stop, or when I'm jogging, or while I'm walking through the door of an elderly relative's home, or while I'm sitting on my own couch in my own home eating ice cream, do not accept their narratives. I was not dealing drugs or caught up in some unscrupulous endeavor or activity that pre-empted their decision to shoot first and again, and then hold another news conference with the mayor and police chief to explain it all. I was only trying to live and be a good dad, a good human.
But if it happens to me, and you get an alert that a police officer's knee is on my neck and he is taking my life, second by second, and it's all captured in HD and tweeted across the world, just know you do not have to see anything else. I deserved to live. And it was never my duty to save myself from those who are sworn to serve us.
Still, if it happens to me and they tell you it was the only way, remind them that just last year, a dangerous white man in Hutchinson sped down the road with a police officer hanging onto his vehicle, and last week, a robbery suspect in Roseville flashed a handgun and then fired a shot at police officers. These men tried to kill cops and still lived to make their court dates. Amir, who was legally licensed to carry a firearm, simply woke up and died.
If it happens to me, what only seems to happen to us, and I am asleep, then startled, and I do what anyone might do, and I raise up to see what's going on, fearful for my own life and the lives of those l love, and they do what they can't seem to stop doing to Black folks in Minnesota, please keep fighting.
Will you do that for me?