’Breonna’s Law’ unanimously passed by Louisville Metro Council
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Louisville Metro Council unanimously passed a measure called Breonna’s Law Thursday evening, a measure that bans the use of no-knock warrants.
It was named after Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed in her apartment by LMPD officers serving a no-knock warrant during what police described as a drug investigation in March.
Ben Crump, an attorney representing Taylor’s family in a lawsuit against the three officers involved in her death, said Thursday before the vote that Breonna’s Law is a step forward for the city in regard to changes that are needed.
“This is the first step to getting justice for Breonna Taylor,” Crump said.
Breonna Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, addressing metro council Thursday before the vote, asking them to vote yes.
“All Breonna wanted to do was save lives,” Palmer said. “So it’s important this law passes because with that she will continue to get to do that after her death.”
Councilwomen Jessica Green and Barbara Sexton-Smith created the ordinance, with the help of other council members. The ordinance was initially written to limit no-knock warrants. Over the last several days, Green said other council members started to voice their opinions to completely ban them.
“We had more on Monday to begin to say it publicly,” Green said.
Green said they started having conversations with council members and got the final sponsor to sign on Thursday around noon.
“I’m still kind of pinching myself where we ended up,” Green said. “Because as I said, anybody who has been around Metro government, we don’t agree unanimously on anything, anything, even innocuous things. So for us to end up here, it’s nothing but the will of the people and the power of God.”
With 26 yes votes, council voted to ban no-knock warrants. The ordinance also requires officers wait a minimum of 15 seconds after knocking and announcing their presence when serving a warrant.
Officers must wear body cameras during the execution of a warrant, turning them on five minutes before and off at least five minutes after the completion of serving the warrant. All of the data from the body camera footage must be saved for five years following the execution of the warrant.
There will be penalties for failing to follow these new guidelines, including oral reprimands, written reprimands, suspension without pay, and/or discharge under the appropriate union contract, civil service commission rules, or department work rules.
“We respect the Council decision. We are committed to changes which address safety and build police-community relations,” Jessie Halladay, a spokesperson from the Louisville Metro Police Department, said after the vote.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has revealed he plans to sign the measure as soon as possible.
“I plan to sign Breonna’s Law as soon as it hits my desk,” Fischer wrote on his Twitter page. “I suspended use of these warrants indefinitely last month, and wholeheartedly agree with Council that the risk to residents and officers with this kind of search outweigh any benefit. This is one of many critical steps on police reform that we’ve taken to create a more peaceful, just, compassionate and equitable community."
I plan to sign Breonna’s Law as soon as it hits my desk. I suspended use of these warrants indefinitely last month, and wholeheartedly agree with Council that the risk to residents and officers with this kind of search outweigh any benefit. 1/2— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) June 11, 2020
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