State lawmaker pre-files “Breonna’s Law” to end no-knock search warrants

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Saying she wants to make sure that what happened to Breonna Taylor never happens again, Democratic state Rep. Attica Scott announced Sunday that she has pre-filed legislation that would end the use of no-knock search warrants in Kentucky and would increase police accountability.

She unveiled the proposed Breonna’s Law at Injustice Square Park, the central point of protests calling for justice after Taylor was shot and killed in her home by police carrying out a no-knock search warrant in early March.

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“There was never a need for no-knock search warrants like the one used in Breonna’s case, and while this type of warrant is now banned here in Metro Louisville and appears to have little use elsewhere, I want to make sure statewide law keeps it from ever coming back,” said Rep. Scott, who serves the 41st House District.

“In addition, I want to make sure a judge specifically approves any use of violent entry when a warrant is carried out, and I want all law enforcement officers to have to wear body cameras and be required to use them when serving any warrant.  This video would then have to be available if a complaint is filed, and those violating these new camera and search warrant requirements would be subject to being fired or suspended.  The last major provision of Breonna’s Law is to make sure law enforcement officers undergo drug and alcohol screening following a deadly incident or after they discharge their firearm while on duty.  Frankly, I’m surprised this is not already standard procedure.”

Those appearing with Rep. Scott included Keturah Herron, the policy strategist for ACLU of Kentucky, and Sam Aguiar, the attorney for Breonna Taylor’s family.

“After getting unanimous support for a ban on no-knock warrants in Louisville, it is now time to expand Breonna’s Law statewide to ban no-knock warrants across the commonwealth,” Herron said.  “After Breonna’s Law passed in Louisville, Ms. Tamika Palmer, Breonna’s mother, said, ‘With the passing of Breonna’s Law, Breonna will be able to continue to save lives. That’s all she wanted.’  At its core, Breonna’s Law is about ensuring all Kentuckians are safe. We have to ban policing tactics that endanger lives.”

“Breonna’s Law was an important step for reform for the City of Louisville, and it is an even more important step for statewide reform,” Aguiar said.  “Unannounced home invasions are dangerous and deadly for people in homes and for law enforcement. The research and data on no-knock warrants confirm that far too often they end up in tragic results. This legislation would eliminate this from happening in Kentucky. Its support and passage are critical for the safety of everyone.”

Rep. Scott’s legislation is expected be considered by the General Assembly when legislators return to the Capitol in January.

Senate President Robert Stivers also plans to introduce a bi-partisan bill in the next legislative session that would effectively ban police use of most no-knock search warrants in the state.

The only exceptions in the Republican’s bill would be for arrest warrants, hostage situations or threats to life.

Stivers says a no-knock warrant at 1 a.m. is “bad policing.”

Too see a copy of Rep. Scott’s pre-filed bill, click here.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.