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Pressure mounts on Lexington to pass permanent ban on no-knock warrants

Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in News & Features

Nearly a year after the March 13 killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police during the serving of a no-knock warrant, the city of Lexington has not yet banned the search tool.

There is mounting pressure for Kentucky's second-largest city to move forward on a total ban as the fate of two bills in the state legislature addressing the practice is still in question. Such warrants allow police officers to enter a home without knocking.

Rev. Clark Williams, a member of a group of Black faith leaders who have pushed the city to address police reforms, said the group has met with several Lexington-Fayette Urban County council members and will meet with Mayor Linda Gorton this week to discuss a permanent ban.

Gorton issued a moratorium in June that only allows no-knock warrants in life or death situations. Both Gorton and Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers must sign off on the warrant.

Williams said the current moratorium does not go far enough and is only temporary.

"We are focused on a permanent ban on no-knock warrants," Williams said during a virtual forum Monday about no-knock warrants and police accountability sponsored by Kentuckians for The Commonwealth and Mission Behind Bars and Beyond. In addition, the Black faith leaders want to see stiffer penalties for police officers who do not activate body-worn cameras, more citizens involved in police discipline and other reforms.

 

The group first took its demands to city leaders in June.

It's been more than eight months, and the group has seen little progress from city leaders, Williams said.

"In the month of March, we are looking to see some movement on some of these issues," he said.

Gorton supports the current moratorium, which severely restricts the use of no-knock warrants, said a spokeswoman for the city.

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