Black faith leaders criticize ‘divisive rhetoric’ amid no-knock warrant discussions

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 11:42 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Black Faith Leaders in Lexington and Vicinity are pushing for a ban on no-knock warrants. Mayor Linda Gorton and Police Chief Lawrence Weathers have said those who oppose the warrants have a misunderstanding of what they entail.

“We understand the issue. We just don’t agree with you. We understand that when errors are made in policing it always disproportionately impacts black people,” Rev. Clark Williams said.

Black faith leaders also responded to comments made by the Fraternal Order of Police. The group posted comments on Facebook criticizing those who oppose no knock warrants.

Today, members of the Lexington City Council made an initial vote on the proposed ordinance banning no-knock warrants....

Posted by Fraternal Order of Police Bluegrass Lodge 4 on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The group claimed that banning the warrants would increase crime in the city. It referenced the two homicides that happened following the council meeting on Tuesday. Black faith leaders say keeping no-knock warrants will not prevent crime.

“It’s hard to get from a place of those overnight homicides to how a no-knock warrant would apply to that situation,” Rev. Williams said.

In a committee meeting last month, 10 council members voted to move the ordinance banning no-knock warrants forward.

“Several in that 10 changed their votes. The issue hasn’t changed. The issue has been the same over a year since we’ve been talking about it. The question becomes what changed for them?” Rev. Williams said.

On Tuesday nine council members voted in favor of the ordinance and six opposed. Black faith leaders hope the tally will be enough to get the ordinance passed.

We have reached out to the FOP for comment.

The ordinance is expected to receive its first reading at Thursday’s council meeting which is set to begin at 6 p.m.

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