Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed a partial ban on no-knock warrants Friday (04/08) after months of demonstrations set off by the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in her home during a police raid last year.
The law signed by the governor is not the total ban many demonstrators and some Democratic lawmakers had sought, but it also doesn’t prevent individual cities and towns from banning the warrants completely. The measure drew bipartisan support in the legislature, where Republicans hold veto-proof supermajorities in the House and Senate. The law only permits no-knock warrants if there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the crime being investigated “would qualify a person, if convicted, as a violent offender.”
Taylor, a 26-year-old Louisville emergency medical technician studying to become a nurse, was shot multiple times in March 2020 after being roused from her bed by police. No drugs were found, and the warrant was later found to be flawed.
Under the new law, no-knock warrants must be executed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and officers are required to take additional steps to obtain warrants. Judges are also required to sign legibly when approving them and an EMT must now be nearby during execution of the warrant.
In the Taylor case, a no-knock warrant was approved as part of a Louisville Metro Police Department narcotics investigation. Nonetheless, officers said they did knock and announce their presence before entering Taylor’s apartment, though some witnesses have disputed that claim.
In September, a grand jury indicted one of the officers on wanton endangerment charges for shooting into a neighbor’s apartment, but none was charged in connection with Taylor’s death. That was based in part on the presentation of Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who recommended no charges against the officers who shot into Taylor’s apartment.
One of those officers, Myles Cosgrove, was fired. Federal ballistics experts said they believe the shot that killed Taylor came from Cosgrove. The police department also fired officer Joshua Jaynes, who secured the warrant.