The Louisville, Ky. police department has voted unanimously to ban no-knock warrants in the wake of the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was killed in an unannounced police raid on her boyfriend’s apartment.
The legislation, titled Breonna’s Law, will officially ban the practice of no-knock warrants, or warrants that allow police to enter a suspect’s apartment without warning or notice. Such warrants are typically granted to police on drug cases, on the grounds that providing notice could give suspects time to destroy evidence.
The practice of no-knock warrants drew nationwide criticism when Louisville police officers killed Taylor at her apartment with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker in March. According to Walker’s lawyers, Walker, a legal gun owner, mistook the police for robbers and opened fire, causing the police to shoot into the apartment. Taylor, who was sleeping in bed at the time, was shot multiple times.
The raid was part of a drug investigation, even though no drugs were found at Taylor’s home. The three officers involved in the raid have all been placed on administrative leave, and the Louisville police department has come under fire after releasing a four-page report related to Taylor’s death that was virtually empty.
As Rolling Stone previously reported, no-knock warrants have been on the rise over the past few decades, largely due to the intensifying War on Drugs. Critics say the practice violates suspects’ constitutional rights and puts them at further risk of police violence. Taylor is one of many victims of police violence, including George Floyd and Tony McDade, who have served as rallying cries for protesters over the past few weeks. Her family members have filed a lawsuit against the city of Louisville, referring to her death as an “execution.”
Louisville mayor Greg Fischer said he supported Breonna’s Law, and planned to sign it immediately. “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,” he wrote in a tweet.
On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky also announced that he would be introducing legislation in Congress to ban no-knock warrants on a national level. Titled the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act, the bill would make it illegal for law enforcement to enter people’s homes without identifying themselves or providing other notice.