Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul introduced a bill on Thursday to ban no-knock warrants — the type of warrant that ultimately led to the wrongful shooting death of Breonna Taylor, one of multiple black people who died as a result of excessive police force, prompting protests nationwide.
The Justice for Breonna Taylor Act bans federal law enforcement officers from carrying out a warrant “until after the officer provides notice of his or her authority and purpose” and blocks state and local law enforcement agencies that receive Justice Department funding from carrying out warrants that do not require the officer involved “to provide notice of his or her authority and purpose before forcibly entering a premises.”
“After talking with Breonna Taylor’s family, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s long past time to get rid of no-knock warrants,” Paul, a Republican, said in a statement. “This bill will effectively end no-knock raids in the United States.”
The move comes as lawmakers look to address with legislation ongoing national unrest over the intertwined legacies of institutionalized racism and police brutality, with congressional Democrats and Republicans each formulating their own measures on police reform. Among them is a proposal from Republican Sen. Tim Scott, which would require states to provide data on use of no-knock warrants, while House Democrats’ proposal would ban no-knock warrants in drug cases.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Kentucky EMT, was shot at least eight times by police after they broke down the door of her apartment in an attempted drug raid in March. Taylor’s mother, in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in April against the three police officers involved, argues that the officers should have called off their search of Taylor’s apartment because a suspect police were looking for had already been arrested by other officers executing a warrant at a separate location.
Paul’s bill isn’t the only effort to limit such warrants. The Louisville Metro Council in Kentucky also passed an ordinance banning no-knock search warrants on Thursday.
The ordinance, which will be known as “Breonna’s Law,” also regulates the execution of search warrants and the use of body camera equipment during the implementation of all search warrants.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said that he plans “to sign Breonna’s Law as soon as it hits my desk,” noting that he “suspended use of these warrants indefinitely last month, and wholeheartedly agree(s) with Council that the risk to residents and officers with this kind of search outweigh any benefit.”