Lexington discusses ordinance that would ban no-knock warrants

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Lexington Fayette Urban County Council is discussing a proposed ordinance that would eliminate the warrant.

Tuesday, the Planning and Public Safety Committee met to discuss the draft.

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This comes more than a year after the botched raid in Louisville that killed Breonna Taylor. Since June 2020, there’s just been a moratorium on the warrant.

“You know I’ve been asked about the time that its taken us to get to this item,” James Brown, chairman of the committee said.

He attributes the long wait for local change to understanding what the federal and state governments were going to do first.

Kentucky’s general assembly passed senate bill four which only limits no-knocks, it doesn’t ban them. Governor Andy Beshear signed it into law April 9.

Police Chief Lawrence Weathers has been included in discussions. His opinion was made clear Tuesday.

“History of no-knock search warrants proves that they’re safe. You do have exceptions like what happened up in Louisville. But I have to understand too that those exceptions are not the rule. When you start making policy and procedures based on exceptions than you get extremes. Gross extremes. You get over reaction, you get under reaction,” Weathers said.

Lexington Police says in the last five years there have been four no knocks executed without incident.

“Stop focusing on what you have somewhere else and start focusing on what you have here,” Weathers said.

To that Vice Mayor Steve Kay says what’s going on in the world can’t be ignored.

“And so, if we lived in a bubble we might view this differently, but we don’t,” Kay said.

He went on to add he’s not being critical of Lexington police and Chair James  Brown echoed that.

“I think it’s a sign of the times and us being responsive,” Brown said.

Councilwoman Susan Lamb also addressed she wanted the public to be able to weigh in on the issue.

Next the draft will go before the full council.

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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or Mharkins@wtvq.com