Breonna Taylor’s death: A push to limit no-knock warrants

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Kentucky State Rep. Kelly Flood, addresses members of the Ky. House about Ky. Senate Bill 4, an act relating to warrants authorizing entry without notice during the last day of the State Legislature at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

FRANKFORT – Kentucky’s lawmakers passed a partial ban on no-knock warrants Tuesday, more than a year after the death of Breonna Taylor during a police raid on the Black woman’s home.

The legislation now heads to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Louisville emergency medical technician studying to become a nurse, was shot multiple times in March 2020 after being roused from sleep by police at her door during a drug raid. A no-knock warrant was approved as part of a narcotics investigation. No drugs were found at her home.

The case fueled nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism and calls for demonstrators for a ban on no-knock warrants. When police came through the door using a battering ram, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired once.

The measure would only allow no-knock warrants to be issued if there was “clear and convincing evidence” that the “crime alleged is a crime that would qualify a person, if convicted, as a violent offender.” Warrants also would have to be executed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

It also would require officers to take additional steps in order to obtain warrants in the limited circumstances they are allowed. Judges also would be required to sign legibly when approving them.

The House amended the bill, including to allow regular officers in less populated counties to execute warrants if a special response team is not available.

The Senate concurred with the amended version.