Louisville bans ‘no-knocks’ after Breonna Taylor’s death
Louisville, Ky. – Louisville, Kentucky, has banned the use of controversial “no knock” warrants and named the new ordinance for Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by officers who burst into her home.
The city’s Metro Council unanimously voted Thursday night to ban the controversial warrants after days of protests and calls for reform. Taylor, who was studying to become a nurse, was shot eight times by officers conducting a narcotics investigation on March 13. No drugs were found at her home.
“I’m just going to say, Breonna, that’s all she wanted to do was save lives, so with this law she will continue to get to do that,” Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said after the law was passed. “She would be so happy.”
The law bans the use of the warrants by Louisville Metro officers. Police typically use them in drug cases over concern that evidence could be destroyed if they announce their arrival. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul also introduced federal legislation Thursday that would ban the use of no-knock warrants nationwide.
Louisville council member Jessica Green, who co-wrote the city’s new law, said the city’s police typically use the no-knock warrants about 20 to 25 times a year.
“No-knock warrants are not tools that officers have to use with any regularity to get their job done,” Green said.
Green was also critical of an incident report in the Taylor shooting released by Louisville Police this week.
The report released three months after the shooting is mostly blank, with few details of the incident and some incorrect entries.
It cites a police-involved death investigation and identifies Taylor, 26, as the victim. It also has a box to check for forced entry, which was checked “No,” and it also said “none” in a space for the victim’s injuries.
Green said Taylor would “never be forgotten, she will never be erased, no matter what an incident report said.”
Louisville Police did give more details about the shooting in a media briefing held on March 13, hours after the shooting. Officials said the officers knocked, announced themselves and then forced their way into Taylor’s apartment, where they were met with gunfire.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called the released report “unacceptable.”
“It’s issues like this that erode public confidence in LMPD’s ability to do its job, and that’s why I’ve ordered an external top-to-bottom review of the department,” he said in an emailed statement. “I am sorry for the additional pain to the Taylor family and our community.”
The three officers involved in the shooting, Jon Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove, have been placed on administrative reassignment while the shooting is investigated. This week the detective who requested the no-knock warrant, Joshua Jaynes, also was reassigned.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was also in the home that night and fired at police. Walker was initially charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but that charge was dropped by prosecutors in May. Walker told police he didn’t know who was coming into the home and that he thought he was acting in self-defense. Mattingly was shot in the thigh and recovered.
The release of Walker’s 911 call on May 28 marked the beginning of days of protests in Louisville, fueled by Taylor’s death and the death of a black man in police custody in Minneapolis, George Floyd.