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'Breonna's Law': Council unanimously bans no-knock warrants, parents say she'd be amazed

Breonna Taylor died as a result of police officers with a no-knock warrant. This week, the ouisville, Kentucky, metro council unanimously voted to ban the warrant.

'Breonna's Law': Council unanimously bans no-knock warrants, parents say she'd be amazed
Image Source: Anti-Racism Protests Held In U.S. Cities Nationwide. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 06. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Trigger Warning: Racism, Police Brutality

After the tragic death of Breonna Taylor, Black Lives Matter protestors demanded justice and action from lawmakers. Therefore, the Louisville, Kentucky, metro council unanimously voted to pass "Breonna's Law," an ordinance that bans no-knock search warrants, CNN reports. Taylor was murdered by police officers from the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department when they stormed her apartment and shot her eight times. The vote took place on Thursday evening, with 26 votes for the ban and none against. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced on Twitter that he plans to sign it "as soon as it hits [his] desk." According to Taylor's mother Tamika Palmer, her daughter "would have been amazed to see the world changing."



Taylor was an emergency medical technician. Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Taylor's family, told CNN's Anderson Cooper, "[She] was saving lives while she was living. Now with the passage of the Breonna Taylor Law, she will be saving lives forever." The ordinance regulates the use of search warrants, ensuring they are carried out safely, and makes the use of operating body cameras mandatory. The cameras must be activated no later than five minutes prior to all searches and will have to remain switched on for five minutes after. Any and all data that is recorded has to be retained for five years following an executing action.



The ordinance was passed after a May 21 announcement from the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department. The department claimed it would require all sworn officers to wear body cameras and change how it carries out search warrants. Mayor Fischer wrote on Twitter, "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. This is one of many critical steps on police reform that we've taken to create a more peaceful, just, compassionate, and equitable community."



The law is expected to be of federal importance. On Thursday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul introduced the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act, a bill that would completely ban no-knock warrants for federal law enforcement. In addition to this, the bill would block state and local law enforcement agencies that receive Justice Department funding from carrying out no-knock warrants. He stated when introducing the legislation, "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."



No-knock warrants are issued by a judge. Such warrants allow law enforcement officers to enter a property without immediate prior notification to the residents, such as by ringing a doorbell or knocking, hence the name. Over time, the number of no-knock warrants issued has increased substantially. By one estimate, there were 1,500 in the early 1980s whereas there were 45,000 such warrants in 2010. They have been controversial for several reasons, one of which is the unprecedented number of deaths that occur as a result of no-knock warrants. While federal law has codified knock-and-announce warrants, no-knock warrants continue to be issued in all states barring Oregon and Florida. Kentucky is yet to pass the ordinance statewide, but we are finally making progress. Nonetheless, there is still more work to be done.



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