Lexington mayor names leaders of new citizens group, announces moratorium of ‘no-knock’ warrants

Updated: Jun. 15, 2020 at 8:25 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton has announced a new group she is appointing to recommend changes concerning racial equality.

Gorton says Roszalyn Akins, educator, Executive Director of BMW Academy and civic leader, and Dr. Gerald Smith, University of Kentucky History professor and Pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church, will co-chair the group.

“Everyone is impatient for change, including me,” Gorton said. “While I understand change won’t happen overnight, I am determined to make many improvements quickly, and to continue to make immediate changes as opportunities present themselves. We need long-term, systemic change.”

Gorton says she has “carefully crafted” the new group after listening to protestors and talking to Councilmembers, Police Chief Lawrence Weathers, the Fraternal Order of Police and others.

The mayor says Akins and Smith will have a voice in naming the group, and in identifying members. The group is expected to include citizens, representatives of the courts, the faith community, the Urban County Council, and others, and will focus on issues such as health disparities, economic and educational opportunities and justice issues.

Another issue the mayor has decided to move forward with is no-knock warrants. Gorton and Chief Weathers have placed an immediate moratorium on controversial no-knock warrants, except in life-and-death cases.

According to the mayor, no-knock warrants are used rarely in Lexington, and have always required the signature of a judge.

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