Some members of the Salisbury City Council want to propose a ban on no-knock warrants, in light of Breonna Taylor’s death.
Taylor is a woman who died at the hands of police in Kentucky as they served no-knock warrant on a home that didn’t even belong to the man they were looking for.
“As far as how we conduct our no-knock service or our knock and announce service, I do not believe changes need to be made,” says Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan.
Duncan is confident that no-knock warrants are an important tool and that the city’s officers are properly trained in serving them. She believes these warrants often help protect the lives of officers and civilians but some city council members are looking to pass an ordinance that would ban them.
“I think these kinds of changes are necessary,” says Michele Gregory, a Salisbury City Council Member representing the 4th District. “Basically what we’ve heard from the community is that they would like to see us take this on because the national level stories, we just don’t want to see that happen in Salisbury.”
Duncan tells 47 ABC there’s a lot of preparation that goes into the decision to serve any kind of warrant, something not all cities may require. “We have a checklist to fill out. We meet with the author of the warrant usually another law enforcement officer to get some logistics and intelligence,” says Duncan.
Duncan says her officers would still follow it, even though the ordinance isn’t necessarily an enforceable law. However, that means other departments may just end up serving the warrants instead. “It’s not that no knock warrants would no longer exist. They would continue to get signed by our judges and they would continue to be served,” says Duncan.
Part of the department’s checklist involves deciding whether a warrant should be served as a no-knock. The Chief says since 2015, 40 warrants have been signed as no knock but after review at least five of them were downgraded.
The council plans to discuss the ordinance during their July 20th meeting. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to participate in virtual council meetings to share their thoughts on this proposal.
Any actual ban on no-knock warrants would have to come at a federal level. This proposal would be an ordinance.