Kentucky Limits No-Knock Warrants More Than A Year After Breonna Taylor’s Death

(Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed a law Friday partially banning no-knock warrants more than a year after Breonna Taylor was killed in a shootout with police officers after they charged into an apartment without knocking.

The law only allows for no-knock warrants if there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the crime in question “would qualify a person, if convicted, as a violent offender,” according to the text of the legislation.

Taylor, 26, was shot and killed in March 2020 after police executed a no-knock warrant in a botched drug raid. The no-knock warrant was originally approved because it was a drug investigation. Responding police officers said they both knocked and announced their presence before entering Taylor’s apartment. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he fired at officers because he thought someone was breaking into the apartment. Officers returned fire, ultimately striking and killing Taylor.

No drugs were found and the warrant was later found to be incorrect, as has been previously reported.

“This is meaningful change,” Beshear said during a press briefing Friday morning. “This will save lives and it moves us in the right direction. But I am listening, and I know more – much more – needs to be done. I know the fight is not over.”

The law states that police can only execute arrest warrants between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., and officers must go through additional steps to obtain the warrant. Judges are required to legibly sign the warrant and an EMT must be on standby nearby when the warrant is executed. Bodycams or a recording device must be on during the encounter. (RELATED: ‘We Are A Civilized Society’: Kentucky Senate Passes Bill That Makes Insulting Police Officers A Crime)

A grand jury indicted one of three Louisville officers involved in Taylor’s death. Former Louisville officer Brett Hankinson was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree. The two other officers, Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, were not indicted.

Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Mattingly and Cosgrove were “justified in their use of force after having been fired upon” when he announced the charges.