All 26 members of the Louisville, Kentucky, Metro Council on June 11 voted unanimously to ban no-knock warrants. The legislation was titled Breonna’s Law, in honor of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor who was killed during a raid on her home earlier this year.
“I plan to sign Breonna’s Law as soon as it hits my desk. I suspended use of these warrants indefinitely last month, and wholeheartedly agree with Council that the risk to residents and officers with this kind of search outweigh any benefit,” Fischer said.
“This is one of many critical steps on police reform that we’ve taken to create a more peaceful, just, compassionate and equitable community,” he added.
The legislation passed on Thursday also requires police officers to wear body cameras when serving warrants and to turn on the cameras at least five minutes before beginning the operation, and to keep them on for at least another five minutes after it has concluded. All of the footage and data recorded from the operation must also be retained for five years following an executing action. Louisville Metro Police Department or Metro law enforcement must also knock and wait a minimum of 15 seconds for a response before entering the property where the operation is being conducted, according to NBC news.
Taylor, who was an emergency medical technician, was killed by Louisville Metro Police Department on March 13 when officers entered her home on a no-knock warrant, in the middle of the night. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire on police, allegedly believing he was being robbed. Officers returned fire and Taylor was shot multiple times and later died.
Walker was initially charged with attempted murder of an officer, however, the charges against him have since been dropped. Taylor’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against three of the officers involved in the shooting; Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove, and they have been placed on administrative leave amid an investigation.
Her death has become intertwined with the recent protests against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Memorial Day.
On Thursday, Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, along with the family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, praised the ban on no-knock warrants, telling reporters, “I’m just going to say that Breonna, that’s all she wanted to do was save lives. So with this law, she’ll get to continue to do that.”
“So we’re grateful for that, she would be so happy,” Palmer added.
Also on Thursday evening, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) introduced a bill to the Senate that would require federal law enforcement officers to provide notice of their authority and purpose before they could execute a warrant. It would also require the same of any state or local law enforcement agency that receives funds from the Department of Justice.
“After talking with Breonna Taylor’s family, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s long past time to get rid of no-knock warrants,” Paul said. “This bill will effectively end no-knock raids in the United States.”
No-knock search warrants are allowed in every state except Oregon, where they are prohibited by state law, and in Florida, where they are banned under a state supreme court decision.