Black faith leaders disappointed Lexington still hasn’t banned no-knock warrants

In April, Black faith leaders called on the City of Lexington to permanently ban the use of no-knock warrants.
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 11:42 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - In April, Black faith leaders called on the City of Lexington to permanently ban the use of no-knock warrants. They are disappointed that still has not happened:

After their April 15 meeting, Black faith leaders drafted an ordinance banning no-knock warrants and sent a copy to the mayor and urban county council.

The council planning and public safety committee passed a similar version shortly after.

Black faith leaders say the ordinance under review is inadequate. They criticize the clause that requires police to wait a reasonable amount of time before entering a premise while executing a search warrant. Instead, they feel police should have to wait at least 30 seconds.

The faith leaders have met with the mayor several times. They are disappointed that she still supports no-knock warrants.

“Mayor Gorton has recently stated her position that she is still unwilling to go beyond the moratorium that she put in place almost a year ago,” said Rev. David Peoples, Jabez Missionary Baptist Church. “Therefore, Mayor Gorton’s position appears to be unaffected by the citizens who have cried out for her to lead Lexington toward a permanent ban on no-knock warrants.”

Mayor Gorton’s office released this statement from the mayor Thursday afternoon:

“In deciding to impose a moratorium on no knock warrants back in June, I listened to citizens on all sides of this issue, and I listened to our police … and I continue listen to the ongoing debate. In Lexington, a no knock warrant is about life and death situations. These warrants are rare, and they can be misunderstood. Our chief has said there are times and situations where no knock warrants offer more protection for police and for citizens because they involve violent situations, and he has expressed his concerns about eliminating them completely. I understand how difficult this decision is for Councilmembers as they hear from many different voices in our community.”

The Black faith leaders say they’ll have another statement in the next few weeks about their next course of action.

An ordinance banning no-knock warrants is set to go before the full council in June.

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