LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville Metro Council's Public Safety Committee approved "Breonna's Law" Wednesday. The ordinance provides guidelines and regulations for the use of no-knock warrants by the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD).
The ordinance is a response to the shooting death of Breonna Taylor on March 13 during a drug raid at her apartment. A no-knock warrant was used for the raid.
Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith (D-4), a sponsor of the Ordinance said, "Breonna’s Law will save lives. Breonna Taylor – we must say her name. This dedicated 26-year-old woman lived, trained, and worked to save lives. This law will provide transparency and accountability at multiple levels.”
“This is a moment when the community has clearly told its elected representatives that something must be done. This Ordinance is the first step in a long process of future reforms that will guarantee the safety of the people we represent while respecting the rule of law,” said Councilwoman Jessica Green (D-1) chair of the committee and also a sponsor of the Ordinance.
The Ordinance says LMPD can obtain no-knock warrants only in cases involving "imminent threat of harm or death to law enforcement and /or to civilians, which shall be limited to the following offenses: murder, hostage-taking, kidnapping, terrorism, human trafficking, and sexual trafficking."
The warrant must also be specific in stating why it is needed instead of a conventional search warrant. No-knock warrants will be approved by the Chief of Police or his or her designee and the designee must hold the rank of Major or higher. SWAT team members will execute the no-knock warrants.
The new law will require that Metro Council's Public Safety Committee receive quarterly reports on how no-knock warrants are requested, how many are issued by the courts, how many are executed by LMPD, the number of injuries and/or fatalities suffered by police officers and by civilians in the execution of the no-knock search, and locations of where the no-knock warrants are served.
Another provision in the law requires all officers serving no-knock warrants must wear body cameras and that the cameras must be turned on five minutes before the warrant is served. The camera will remain engaged until five minutes after the warrant is served and will be archived for five years.
The Ordinance now awaits final approval by the full Metro Council at the June 11 meeting. A special Public Safety Committee meeting will take place on June 8 for more discussion of the ordinance.