On June 11, 2020, The Louisville, Kentucky, Metro Council unanimously passed Breonna’s Law — named in honor of police-shooting victim Breonna Taylor — outlawing “no-knock” warrants. Additionally, all officers will be required to wear body cameras and they will not be able to be turned off before and after every search.
Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot by Louisville police when they executed a no-knock warrant while she slept in her home on March 13.
Louisville police had obtained a warrant for a house down the street from Taylor’s apartment where two men were suspected of selling drugs, but police told the judge who signed off on the warrant that they had reason to believe that the men they were searching for had used Taylor’s address to have packages delivered.
Police arrived at Taylor’s apartment in the early morning hours on March 13 and used a battering ram to enter the apartment. The officers did not knock or announce themselves as police officers. When they entered the home, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire on the police and injured one of the officers. Police returned fire and shot Taylor eight times, killing her.
Records show that all of the officers turned off their cameras before hey entered the home. The officers also falsified their reports.
Turns out that the apartment was not a drug house and Walker was licensed to carry a firearm. He was initially charged with the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer but those charges were dropped after the state attorney discovered that the officers entered the wrong home and lied in their reports. According to the SAO, Taylor and her boyfriend had no way of knowing police were entering the apartment and therefore had the right to shoot in order to protect themselves and their home.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing the Taylor family, as well as the city council, said that the police report contained falsified information but was mostly blank. “It is a slap in the face,” said Crump.
“They had the judge add this apartment to the warrant for no reason. Simply based on opinion… based on no facts,” said Crump. He added, “Walker had every right to shoot those cops. An innocent woman lost her life. A healthcare worker who had much higher aspirations than just being an EMT.”
ACLU-KY Executive Director Michael Aldridge released a statement on the passage:
“Metro Council’s passage of Breonna’s Law is a small bit of justice for Breonna’s mourning family and our angry, heartbroken city. It’s an important, but a small step in the fight to eradicate racist police violence that has taken too many lives. Government officials on all levels must do more to rein in police power, address problems within their police departments, increase transparency, and end disparate treatment of Black people in all institutions of power. We will continue to fight for these desperately needed changes in Breonna’s memory. We are joined with all those that have taken to the streets tonight to say her name: Breonna Taylor.”
Crump said he will now go forward to have “no-knock” warrants ban nationwide. He also wants to keep law enforcement officers and judges from hiding behind qualified immunity. Crump is also working to have high-speed chases ban at all law enforcement agencies.
The SAO said that officers did not find any drugs in Taylor’s apartment or vehicles.
The thee officers involved in this case have been reassigned, but are still on the job receiving full pay. One of the officers, Detective Brett Hankison, is also under investigation for sexual assault on multiple women.
This is just one of more than a dozen cases over the past 12 months — from various sates — in which an officer has entered the wrong home and killed an innocent civilian.