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Louisville City Council Unanimously Passes Law For Breonna Taylor Banning No-Knock Warrants
“All Breonna wanted to do was save lives,” Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said before the vote.
Nearly three months after black EMT Breonna Taylor was shot to death in her home by police, the Louisville city council unanimously passed a ban on “no-knock warrants” in a law named for the 26-year-old.
All 26 members of the council signed on as co-sponsors of the ordinance, known as “Breonna’s Law” earlier in the day and voted to pass the ban Thursday evening, according to The Appeal.
“All Breonna wanted to do was save lives,” Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said before the vote was cast according to The Louisville Courier Journal. “So, it’s important this law passes, because with that, she’ll get to continue to do that, even in her death.”
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will still need to sign off on the city ordinance, but he announced on Twitter Thursday night he plans to sign it “as soon as it hits my desk.”
“This is just one of the many critical steps on police reform that we’ve taken to create a more peaceful, just, compassionate and equitable community,” he said.
Taylor, an emergency medical technician, was killed just after midnight on March 13 when narcotics officers burst into her apartment to serve a no-knock search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, thought the men were intruders, grabbed his gun and shot at the officers. The officers returned fire, striking Taylor at least eight times and killing her.
After her death the officers contended that — despite having a warrant with a no-knock provision — they had knocked and announced their presence. However, Walker has said he never heard anyone say they were police.
Taylor’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officers who entered her home that night alleging the officers “blindly fired” more than 20 shots into the apartment, according to the lawsuit.
“The officers then entered Breonna’s home without knocking and without announcing themselves as police officers,” the lawsuit stated. “The Defendants then proceeded to spray gunfire into the residence with a total disregard for the value of human life.”
No drugs were found in the apartment.
The city’s council had initially been considering a partial ban of no-knock warrants but ultimately decided to embrace the more sweeping restriction.
“Everybody has finally come to agree that there’s really no legitimate reason to have no-knock search warrants,” Councilmember Brandon Coan told The Appeal. “On balance, the risk to human life does not outweigh whatever evidentiary benefit may accrue from them.”
Metro Council President David James also declared Thursday “Breonna’s Law Day” at the meeting, saying that Taylor’s name “will never be forgotten,” according to The Courier Journal. He awarded Taylor’s mother with a plaque to mark the occasion.
No-knock search warrants are permitted in every state except Oregon and Florida — but that could soon change.
Shortly before the vote was taken in Louisville, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who represents Kentucky, announced that he planned to file legislation that would ban the police maneuver on a national level.
“After talking with Breonna Taylor’s family, I’ve come to the conclusion that its long past time to get rid of no-knock warrants,” he said. “This bill will effectively end no-knock raids in the United States.”
To date, no charges have been filed in Taylor’s death.
Sgt. Lamont Washington of the Louisville Metro Police Department told Oxygen.com last month that the three officers executing the search warrant — Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove and Jon Mattingly — have been placed on administrative leave while the department investigates the incident.