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Louisville Metro Council Expected To Pass Strengthened ‘Breonna’s Law’ To Ban No-Knock Warrants

J. Tyler Franklin

Public pressure — from both locals and observers across the country — could lead to a ban of no-knock warrants in Louisville passing the council Thursday night.

The Metro Council is set to vote on an ordinance called Breonna’s Law that would outlaw the use of those warrants. Last week, the public safety committee passed a version that would have limited their use.

Councilwoman Jessica Green (D-1), who chairs the public safety committee, said during a caucus meeting Thursday afternoon that council members had heard from thousands of people on this issue.

The version of the ordinance that will be voted on by the full body says, “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.”

All 26 members of the council have signed on to this version of the ordinance as co-sponsors.

The ordinance also expands regulations of body cameras, to require all officers to wear and activate their body cameras while executing search warrants.

Protesters and lawyers for the family of Breonna Taylor have been calling for an outright ban on no-knock warrants. Police obtained that kind of warrant for a middle-of-the-night March raid that spanned several homes, though Taylor’s boyfriend, who was in the apartment with her that night, said the police did knock. He said he could not hear who was knocking and fired his gun in self-defense when the police broke the door down. They returned fire and shot Taylor eight times. She died soon after.

The ACLU of Kentucky, which has campaigned for the ban, celebrated the council’s unanimous support of the measure on social media.

State lawmakers are discussing no-knock warrants as well, and the conversation is also occurring on the national stage.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky introduced a bill to ban no-knock warrants nationwide, his office announced in a press release Thursday. He called it the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act.

“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,” he said in a statement.

Last week, Paul blocked a federal bill that would have made lynching a hate crime.

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