UPDATE: FOP urges officers to call Council members to change no-knock vote

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UPDATE POSTED: 10:00 P.M. THURSDAY JUNE 10, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Lexington Fraternal Order of Police Bluegrass Lodge four is voicing its disappointment in the Urban County Council after the ordinance to ban no knock warrants moves to a second reading

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The FOP saying it is disappointing that city officials would choose to blatantly disregard the opinions and wishes of our police chief. The FOP President, Jeremy Russell saying that he believes most of the council members have faith in Chief Weathers and LPD officers, but feels they have to stand with the narrative being pushed or risk being labeled.

That a vote to ban no-knock warrants is a vote against the safety of the community and its officers.

The FOP added that its hope is that the council realizes the danger they are placing citizens and officers in and that they have mentally prepared themselves to deal with the situations the ban may create.

The final vote on the ordinance is expected to come later this month.

 

UPDATE POSTED 2:45 P.M. THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Two competing groups are making last-minute pushes to try to sway key votes on the Lexington-Fayette County Urban County Council on the no-knock warrant ban being considered on first reading Thursday night.

Lodge 4 of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents officers in Lexington, is encouraging its members to contact the nine Council members who voted for the ban and encourage them to change their vote.

Meanwhile, the Police Accountability group is planning a rally in downtown at 5:30 to encourage council members to affirm Tuesday’s vote.

Lexington City Council will vote again this evening on the proposed ordinance banning no-knock warrants. Several council members (listed below) have failed to prioritize public safety and instead used this time as an opportunity for uninformed political pandering. They also fail to value the safety of our police officers whose lives are at risk during the apprehension of violent offenders. If they truly cared about the safety of the community they would listen to the advice of the Chief of Police and Mayor and allow Lexington officers all the tools available to safely resolve an incident,” The FOP said in a Facebook post.

“Please contact these council members before the vote this evening and express your concerns over their initial support of banning no-knock warrants,” the FOP continued, listing Vice Mayor Steve Kay, David Kloiber, Liz Sheehan, Jennifer Reynolds, James Brown, Hannah LeGris, Josh McCurn, Chuck Ellinger, and Kathy Plomin.

Thursday night’s meeting is at 6 p.m. The vote on first reading is largely procedural because the ordinance will be included in a group of ordinances that will be approved in one group voice vote unless members separate it out and force some kind of separate vote.

The city’s $403 million budget also is included on the agenda on first reading.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 8 P.M. TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Cheering and celebration from faith leaders and supporters Tuesday after the Urban County Council voted to move an ordinance that would ban police from using no knock warrants and require officers to use body cameras when serving most search warrants, to a first reading.

“This is the result of a lot of work by a lot of different groups, a lot of people over the last year put in a lot of hard work and good to see it pay off” said Arnold Farr, a supporter of the ban.

The watch party to see council’s decision was held after a letter from faith leaders stressed the importance of banning no knock warrants was delivered to council Tuesday morning.

A decision that leaders say is so important.

“It’s not only the black faith leaders, it is the April Taylor’s, it is Lex-stand for Breonna, the whole movement across the nation that’s going on that’s bringing awareness to the fact that black lives should matter” said Reverend, Anthony Everett.

But, the vote did not come unanimously.
Council member Fred Brown presented quotes from members of the community expressing that the council should trust the police department…which led to other council members agreeing, voicing that they did not want to move forward with the ordinance.

“We do use this extremely rare tool uh so little but appropriately>

Lexington Police chief Lawrence Weathers spoke out against the ban.
He says in the past five years…only four no-knock warrants have been executed in the city…with no one hurt.
Saying no knock warrants are just another tool for officers, another layer to have before the use of a gun.

“If you want to take those tools away from me that puts me closer and closer to using deadly force, I do not want to do that, my officers do not want to do that” said Chief Weathers.

But despite push back…the council voted 9 in favor and 6 against…moving the ordinance forward to a first reading.
The first reading of the ordinance is set for June 10th with the final vote set for June 24th.