Virginia Bans No-Knock Warrants

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Virginia Bans No-Knock Warrants

This week Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a variety of bills into law that reform policing in Virginia, including one that prohibits the use of no-knock warrants.

 

No-knock warrants have come under scrutiny since the police shooting of Breonna Taylor. Police in Louisville, Kentucky, had a no-knock warrant to search her apartment. They ended up shooting her, with the exact details of what happened under dispute. Some observers say that if police failed to identify themselves, such as no-knock warrants allow, this can lead to a situation where police are mistaken for intruders. Some argue that this is what happened in the Breonna Taylor case, with her boyfriend then shooting at police because he thought they were criminals. The police then shot back, killing Taylor.

 

In the wake of this shooting, criminal justice reform advocates have pushed states and local governments to outlaw the use of these warrants. They maintain that ending the use of no-knock warrants will reduce the possibility of accidental shootings like that which killed Taylor. Critics of these bans contend that police need them to serve warrants in a way that minimizes suspects from destroying evidence.

 

Legislators passed this ban as part of other criminal justice reform bills. These other measures include mandating that police officers intervene if they see other officers using excessive force and curbing the use of military weapons and tactics by police.

 

Virginia becomes the third state to ban police from using no-knock warrants.

 

Do you think that no-knock warrants should be banned?

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