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Kentucky lawmakers pass bill limiting use of no-knock warrants statewide after Breonna Taylor's death

Posted at 5:20 PM, Mar 30, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Exactly 382 days after Breonna Taylor's death, Kentucky lawmakers passed Senate Bill 4 to limit the use of no-knock warrants across the state.

However, unlike other no-knock warrant bills passed across the country, the bill that passed in Kentucky will not carry Breonna Taylor's name.

There was a different bill that was titled Breonna's Law for Kentucky, but that bill did not even receive a committee vote in the Kentucky Legislature. That bill proposed a total ban on no-knock warrants. The bill that passed is a partial ban on the warrants.

SB 4 restricts no-knocks to situations in which a court finds "clear and convincing evidence" that the alleged crime involved is violent. The warrants can be issued if prior police notice would endanger lives or cause evidence to be destroyed. The bill also puts limitations on when and how the warrants can be executed.

The bill was originally supposed to require specially trained officers, like a SWAT team, to execute all no-knock warrants. It also specified for body cameras to be on and rolling. However, a floor amendment was added to allow police in counties with less than 90,000 people to execute the warrants without SWAT if those officers are not available. It also allows those counties to use an audio recording device if body cameras are not available.

The amendment also requires a paramedic or EMT to be nearby when the no-knock warrant is being executed. It also requires officers wear clothes that clearly identify them as police.

The bill is not everything some lawmakers were wanting. Several said the bill falls short of real change. However, others believe it is a starting point.

The bill now heads to Gov. Andy Beshear's desk for consideration.