Saturday, April 10, 2021

Kentucky partailly bans no-knock warrants

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed a partial ban on no-knock warrants Friday after months of demonstrations set off by the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in her home during a botched police raid last year.

The law signed by the Democratic governor is not the total ban many protesters and some Democratic lawmakers had sought -- a proposal that had been introduced as "Breonna's Law" -- but it also doesn't prevent individual cities and towns from banning the warrants completely.

The measure drew bipartisan support in the Legislature, where Republicans hold veto-proof supermajorities in the House and Senate. The law permits no-knock warrants only if there is "clear and convincing evidence" that the crime being investigated "would qualify a person, if convicted, as a violent offender."

Under the law that was passed, no-knock warrants must be executed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and officers are required to take additional steps to obtain warrants. Judges are also required to sign legibly when approving them and an EMT must be nearby during execution of the warrant.

Members of the Taylor family stood behind the governor during the bill signing at Louisville's Kentucky Center for African American Heritage. Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, shed tears as she accepted the pen the governor used to sign the measure.

"While it's not the full legislation that they wanted in terms of a complete ban on no-knock warrants, they are satisfied that this is a start and a win in a deeply divided General Assembly," said the family's attorney, Lonita Baker.

Baker added that the family looks forward to working with lawmakers on future legislation to further restrict the warrants and increase police accountability.

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