WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar is bringing Amir Locke's father to Tuesday's State of the Union while the Minnesota Democrat prepares to reintroduce legislation to limit no-knock warrants.
The development comes shortly after the first anniversary of Amir Locke's killing during a predawn, no-knock raid. The parents of Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, are suing the city of Minneapolis and the city police officer who fired the fatal shots.
Amir's father Andre Locke Sr. said ahead of President Joe Biden's prime time address to the nation that he's "honored to be able to represent our family."
"We want to help prevent this from happening to other families, so that other families don't have to feel what we're feeling," Locke said.
Omar first introduced her legislation named after Amir last March. The following month, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that officer Mark Hanneman was not being charged with a crime.
Omar's bill stalled even though Democrats controlled the U.S. House up until early January.
A spokesman for the city of Minneapolis said in an email the city "supports this proposed legislation," referring to the bill Omar introduced last year, adding, "The city's own policy is more restrictive, prohibiting the application for and the execution of all no-knock search warrants."
Omar's decision to bring Amir's father as her State of the Union guest comes as Congress faces renewed calls to pass major police reform legislation following the fatal police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis last month. Despite attempts to put changes in place after George Floyd's killing in 2020, Congress has failed to find bipartisan consensus on police reform.
The topic is an important one for Omar in a political climate where major policing legislation can be divisive within the Democratic Party.
"We obviously feel that it is heartbreaking and shameful that this 22-year-old young man was shot and killed," Omar said about Amir in an interview. "It's important to keep his memory alive and make sure to use this moment to give his father the opportunity to call for a change in the way in which our communities are policed."
But Republican control of the U.S. House makes it even more unlikely that Democrats will be able to pass any major police reform legislation. Any bill in the Democrat-controlled Senate also would need sizable bipartisan support due to the chamber's filibuster threshold.
During Biden's first joint session speech to Congress in 2021, the president called for a bipartisan consensus by the first anniversary of Floyd's killing by a Minneapolis police officer. A bill never made it to Biden's desk, and months later negotiations fell apart. The president later signed an executive order that was limited in what it could cover on the second anniversary of Floyd's murder.
Biden also could talk about Nichols' death and police reform more broadly in Tuesday's speech.
"In this moment, when we are dealing with the horrific murder of Tyre in Memphis, it is also particularly important to remember all the other horrific murders that have taken place in the hands of the police," Omar said.