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Lexington Council Committee Backs Ban On No-Knock Warrants

Stu Johnson

A Lexington City Council committee has voted unanimously to ban no-knock warrants in the city. The proposed ordinance calls for an effective date July first. 

Discussion of no-knock policies increased greatly following the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville during the carrying out of such a warrant. Keith Horn of Lexington’s Law Department Tuesday detailed the recently approved state law which significantly restricts the use of no-knocks.   

While the ordinance under consideration in Lexington bans no-knock warrants, Horn said it wouldn’t preclude police entering unannounced in certain emergency situations.  “An officer may approach a house and see through the window that someone is attacking another person and the person is yelling for help.  You do not have to knock and announce to enter in that case because it is an exigent circumstance,” said Horn.

Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers again reiterated his support for limited no-knock warrants.    The panel amended the draft ordinance to remove a 15 second time period before police could enter a residence.  That leaves the proposal calling for a reasonable amount of time.  Weathers maintained there is place for entering a residence quickly.  “But, if we have to go in and we do have to crash it whether it’s 15 seconds, five seconds, two seconds, we’re going to make sure that we do our level best to see that nobody’s hurt.  Can’t guarantee that, cause we’re all people, we’re all human beings.  People going to react a certain way, a different way,” said Weathers. 

The draft ordinance also includes guidelines for serving all warrants and requires use of body cameras. The proposal now goes before the full Council. 

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