Law & the Courts

Louisville, Ky., Bans ‘No-Knock’ Search Warrants in the Wake of Police Shooting

People march past City Hall during a protest against the deaths of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police, and George Floyd by Minneapolis police, in Louisville, Ky., May 29, 2020. (Bryan Woolston/Reuters)

The Louisville, Ky., metro council has unanimously passed an ordinance banning “no-knock” search warrants after the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor.

Taylor was shot after police entered her apartment on a no-knock warrant on March 13 as part of a narcotics investigation. Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, has stated that he did not hear the police identify themselves, and he believed the officers were intruders.

Walker used his licensed handgun to defend against what he thought was a home invasion, which led to Taylor’s death in the ensuing firefight. Officers found no drugs in the apartment.

“I plan to sign Breonna’s Law as soon as it hits my desk,” Mayor Greg 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.”

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, told the council before the vote that “all Breonna wanted to do was save lives . . . so it’s important this law passes, because with that, she’ll get to continue to do that, even in her death.” Taylor worked as an emergency medical technician.

A similar law was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday by Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.).

“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,” Paul said in a statement. “This bill will effectively end no-knock raids in the United States.”

Taylor’s shooting gained fresh attention after the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who was killed during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers. Massive demonstrations against racism and police brutality have erupted across the country, some of which have led to rioting and looting in major cities.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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