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A newly signed Kentucky law significantly limits when no-knock search or arrest warrants can be issued, a move that comes more than a year after Louisville police officers fatally shot Breonna Taylor while executing such a warrant.
Members of Taylor's family, including her mother, Tamika Palmer, stood with Gov. Andy Beshear as he signed the bill into law at an event in Louisville, on Friday.
"I'm signing the Senate Bill 4 to ensure another mother never goes through the pain Tamika Palmer has felt," Beshear said. "This is meaningful change. It will save lives and it moves us in the right direction."
Sponsored by Republican state Senate President Robert Stivers, — who also attended the signing ceremony — the legislation would not place an outright ban on warrants allowing police to forcibly enter residences without notification, but would limit the circumstances when they are allowed.
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Instead, the issuance of no-knock warrants would be restricted to situations where a judge finds "clear and convincing evidence" the alleged crime involved is violent and prior notice would endanger lives or lead to the destruction of evidence involved in such a crime.
Such warrants would have to be cleared by a law enforcement official's supervising officer after consultation with a prosecutor, with a requirement to disclose to a judge any other attempts to serve the warrant — and could only be carried out between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Taylor was fatally shot by Louisville police officers last year in a post-midnight March 13 raid on her apartment. Officers obtained a no-knock warrant to search for drugs in the apartment, though none were found, and accounts differ between the officers and neighbors on whether they announced their presence before entering.
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Widespread protests demanding justice for Taylor swept through downtown Louisville in May and persisted throughout the summer, with her name invoked in protests and marches throughout the country.
Lonita Baker, an attorney for Taylor's family, told reporters after the bill signing that Palmer and her family are "very encouraged," but hope to see more policing reform passed next year.
"While it's not the full legislation that they wanted, in terms of a complete ban on no-knock warrants, they are satisfied that this is a start and a win in a deeply divided General Assembly," Baker said.
A late amendment to the bill to secure its passage on the final day of the legislative session last week took out a requirement for officers executing a no-knock warrant in a county with a small population to wear body cameras and have specialized training in such entries.
Follow Joe Sonka on Twitter: @joesonka.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky limits no-knock warrants a year after Breonna Taylor's death