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Louisville council members move to limit no-knock warrants after Breonna Taylor shooting

Louisville Courier-Journal logo Louisville Courier-Journal 1 day ago Tessa Duvall, Louisville Courier Journal
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two members of Louisville Metro Council have filed legislation that would restrict and monitor the circumstances in which police can use controversial no-knock search warrants. 

The legislation, filed by Jessica Green and Barbara Sexton Smith, calls for banning no-knocks completely if drug possession is the only suspected criminal activity.

Both Green and Sexton Smith had expressed interest in restricting or banning the warrants earlier this week at a public safety committee meeting.

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Louisville Metro Police's use of no-knock search warrants have come under scrutiny in the wake of the March 13 shooting death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor.

a person holding a microphone: Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton-Smith, District 4. © By Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton-Smith, District 4.

Records show that police obtained a no-knock search warrant for Taylor's home, though police said they knocked and announced their presence. Kenneth Walker, Taylor's boyfriend, said he did not know it was police entering the apartment, and fired one shot, hitting an officer in the leg.

a door with a window: Damage to an apartment neighboring Breonna Taylor's home.  Provided by Sam Aguiar, an attorney representing her family. © Provided Damage to an apartment neighboring Breonna Taylor's home. Provided by Sam Aguiar, an attorney representing her family.

When police returned fire, Taylor was killed.

More: Prosecutor to dismiss charges against Breonna Taylor's boyfriend, wants more investigation

Read this: The Louisville police union wants an apology from a council member. She's not backing down

The proposed ordinance would require LMPD to create a "warrant application form" that must be completed, signed and dated by the officer seeking a no-knock warrant.

The officer must justify why "less invasive means or methods" would not work, what investigative activities support the warrant and if it can be effectively executed during daylight hours. The application would then be reviewed by the chief of police and SWAT commanding officer.

Earlier this week, Mayor Greg Fischer announced that all no-knock warrants would have to be approved by the chief or their designee. That policy's language was finalized by LMPD Friday.

Green and Sexton Smith's legislation would also require LMPD to make a quarterly report to council, outlining the use of no-knock warrants.

In addition to the search warrant legislation, Council President David James filed an emergency resolution asking Fischer's administration to release the 911 call and any call logs related to Taylor's apartment on the night she died.

Walker's attorneys say he called 911 after Taylor was shot, but the call has not been released publicly, citing an ongoing investigation.

Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine said Friday that Walker didn't place a call to 911 before police entered the apartment.

Wine said Friday he is seeking to dismiss the charges against Walker pending further investigation. Walker faces charges of attempted murder of an officer and assault for allegedly shooting an officer in Taylor's apartment during the search.

"Complete transparency is needed in this case in order to help maintain confidence of the public in the investigation," according to the resolution, which is co-sponsored by Green, as well as Barbara Shanklin, Keisha Dorsey and Donna Purvis.

Reach Tessa Duvall at tduvall@courier-journal.com and 502-582-4059. Twitter: @TessaDuvall. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/subscribe

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Louisville council members move to limit no-knock warrants after Breonna Taylor shooting

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