Update (June 12, 2020): In a unanimous vote, the 26 members of the Louisville Metro Council approved a total ban on “no-knock” warrants in the city, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. The legislation, named “Breonna’s Law," aims to prevent what happened in the case of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMS worker who was shot and killed by police while sleeping in her apartment.
Last week, the Metro Council Public Safety Committee unanimously approved a ban on no-knock warrants used for drug possession cases. After the Louisville Metro Council’s unanimous decision on Thursday, the restriction of no-knock warrants extends to all situations.
"No Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) police officer, Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC) officer, or any other Metro law enforcement or public safety official shall seek, execute, or participate in the execution of a no-knock warrant at any location within the boundaries of Jefferson County," the ordinance states, according to WLKY.
Mayor Greg Fischer took to Twitter on Thursday to express his support for the legislation.
“I plan to sign Breonna’s Law as soon as it hits my desk,” the mayor wrote. “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.”
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. 1/2
— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) June 11, 2020
In addition to banning “no-knock” warrants, Breonna’s Law also requires officers to wear body cameras and activate them at least five minutes before any warrant is executed.
Original (June 4, 2020): The Metro Council Public Safety Committee has unanimously passed Breonna’s Law, a proposal that seeks to put restrictions on no-knock warrants similar to the one that led to Breonna Taylor's killing, according to local news outlet WAVE3.
The lifesaving EMT was killed on March 13 by three police officers who raided her home and unleashed a hail of bullets into her bedroom after entering the residence without knocking.
WAVE3 reported that the Metro Council Public Safety Committee approved the proposal, which would put a ban on no-knock warrants used for drug possession cases. If the rule is passed by the full Metro Council on June 11, officers will be required to thoroughly justify any no-knock warrant before it is reviewed by the SWAT commander and police chief. In cases where the police chief is not able to approve such a warrant, they can give anyone with at least the rank of major the power to approve the warrant.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) June 4, 2020
CBS News reported last week that, even without Breonna’s Law in place, the Louisville Metro Police Department has enacted new rules that require all no-knock warrants to be approved by the police chief and that require all officers to wear body cameras when executing any search warrants.
The 26-year-old was hit with eight bullets by Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and officers Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove as they were executing a no-knock warrant for Jamarcus Glover, who was arrested in an earlier raid and did not live at the home.
There has been widespread criticism of the raid because, according to a lawsuit filed by Taylor's family, the three officers arrived at the couple's home in unmarked cars and without uniforms. They also did not have body cameras on during the shooting.
A panel of experts spoke to the city council on Wednesday about no-knock warrants and their uses across the country. If the new rule is passed, the Louisville Metro Police Department will have to allow the Metro Council Public Safety Committee to look through all of the no-knock warrants that are approved each quarter.
Breonna’s Law also includes a rule about body cameras that states all officers must be wearing them and must activate them at least five minutes before any warrant is executed. According to WAVE3, the videos from all warrants executed will be held for at least five years.
Despite the approval, a number of activists and council members said it was not enough.
“We’re not going far enough with this legislation. We need to be discussing that and make sure that we get something right. Anything short of that [and] we actually hurt the situation,” Councilman Brent Ackerson told WAVE3.
There continues to be a steady stream of outrage that Hankison, Cosgrove and Mattingly have not been fired, arrested or charged with Taylor's death. They have all been placed on administrative reassignment, but calls for their arrest continue, even at the highest levels.
Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted about Taylor's case on Thursday, calling for charges against the officers who shot her.
"The officers who murdered Breonna Taylor nearly three months ago shill have not been charged. We can't forget about Black women in our quest for justice," she said.
The officers who murdered Breonna Taylor nearly three months ago still have not been charged. We can’t forget about Black women in our quest for justice.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 4, 2020
“It needs more. It can go in the right direction, but I need justice. If there’s no justice, there’s no peace,” activist Adrein Taylor told WAVE3.