Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday introduced a bill to ban no-knock warrants, which let law enforcement officials enter a residence forcibly without having to announce their purpose or identifying themselves as police.
“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. This bill will effectively end no-knock raids in the United States,” said Sen. Paul.
The bill, called the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act (pdf), prohibits any state or local police agency nationwide from executing a warrant “that does not require the law enforcement officer serving the warrant to provide notice of his or her authority and purpose before forcibly entering a premises.”
On March 13, Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired a handgun, of which he is a legal owner, at police executing a no-knock drug warrant after midnight, believing the Louisville home he and Taylor shared was being broken into.
In the confrontation, a police officer was struck by a round. Police returned fire, hitting Taylor eight times, resulting in her death. No drugs were found in the home.
Louisville Police, in a media briefing held on March 13, hours after the shooting, said the officers knocked, announced themselves, and then forced their way into Taylor’s apartment, where they were met with gunfire.
Taylor’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit in April against the three police officers involved. In it, she argued that since the suspect police were searching for under the drug warrant had already been arrested, there was no justification for police to enter her daughter’s apartment.
According to a police affidavit for a search warrant for the raid obtained by WAVE, police said they believed a suspect was shipping drugs to Taylor’s apartment and was using it as his permanent home address to provide cover for his alleged drug trafficking activities.
Sen. Paul’s bill comes as the city of Louisville banned the use of no-knock warrants.
The city’s Metro Council unanimously voted Thursday night to ban the controversial warrants after days of protests and calls for reform.
“I’m just going to say, Breonna, that’s all she wanted to do was save lives, so with this law she will continue to get to do that,” Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said after the law was passed. “She would be so happy.”
The law bans the use of the warrants by Louisville Metro officers. It also requires police to wear body cameras when serving warrants.
Louisville council member Jessica Green, who co-wrote the city’s new law, said the city’s police typically use the no-knock warrants about 20 to 25 times a year.
“No-knock warrants are not tools that officers have to use with any regularity to get their job done,” Green said.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer vowed he would sign the ban into law as soon as it hits his desk, saying “risk to residents and officers with this kind of search outweigh any benefit.”