Bill being drafted to ban use of no-knock search warrants in Kentucky

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 12:21 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers held a news conference Thursday.

LIVE: Ky. Senate President Robert Stivers holding news conference

LIVE: Ky. Senate President Robert Stivers holding news conference about potential bill addressing no-knock warrants. More>>

Posted by WKYT on Thursday, July 9, 2020

Stivers announced a bill is being drafted for the upcoming regular session that would ban the use of no-knock search warrants in Kentucky.

The issue has gained nationwide attention after Breonna Taylor died at the hands of three Louisville police officers. They were executing a no-knock warrant related to a drug investigation.

After talking with members of law enforcement, Stivers says the practice should be banned.

Louisville has already banned the use of the warrants and Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton put a moratorium on them.

“There is no place in law enforcement for a no-knock search warrant,” Stivers said. “That is not a good police tactic. It’s unsafe for the people there. It devalues people’s right to privacy in the sanctity of your home and it also puts the police officers at risk.”

However, the bill does allow officers to execute a search warrant during an arrest. It requires police supervisors and a judge to approve the warrant beforehand. It also mandates that a special tactical unit execute the warrant if doing so is likely to cause harm.

Officers who violate the bill’s parameters could lose qualified immunity and even their law enforcement certification.

Stivers says he’s met with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and believes the bill has overwhelming support.

“History will not be kind to us if we do not take advantage of this opportunity to do that which is right,” said Sen. Gerald Neal.

Lawmakers behind this bill say this is only the beginning. They tell us there’s a lot more work to be done than simply banning no-knock warrants.

Lawmakers say other issues to address include officer training, transparent reporting, and de-escalation tactics.

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