Louisville city council unanimously pass 'Breonna's Law' to ban no-knock warrants

Doha Madani

All 26 members of the Louisville Metro Council voted on Thursday to pass a ban on no-knock warrants, a measure known as “Breonna’s Law,” named after the former EMT who died in a police raid at her apartment.

The unanimously passed ordinance, which still needs to be approved by the mayor, bans any search warrant that does not require police to announce themselves and their purpose at the premises. It requires any Louisville Metro Police Department or Metro law enforcement to knock and wait a minimum of 15 seconds for a response.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer vowed to pass the ban as “soon as it hits my desk.”

“This is one of many critical steps on police reform that we’ve taken to create a more peaceful, just, compassionate and equitable community,” Fischer said on Twitter Thursday.

Tamika Palmer, Taylor's mother, praised the passage by the city council. She spoke to the press after the vote along with the family's attorney, Benjamin Crump.

"I'm just going to say that Breonna, that's all she wanted to do was save lives," Palmer said. "So with this law, she'll get to continue to do that."

Taylor, who was a licensed emergency medical technician, was fatally shot by police when plainclothes officers arrived after midnight on March 13 to serve a no-knock warrant in a drug case.

At a March 13 news conference, police Lt. Ted Eidem said officers had knocked on the door several times and "announced their presence as police who were there with a search warrant." After forcing their way in, they “were immediately met by gunfire,” Eidem said.

Attorneys for Taylor’s family have said her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fearing a home invasion, called 911, grabbed a gun and fired, shooting an officer in the leg. He had a license to carry and kept firearms in the home, and Taylor was unarmed.

A spokesman for the department said Wednesday that Det. Joshua Jaynes has been placed on administrative reassignment amid an investigation into how he secured the no-knock warrant in the case.

Taylor’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against three of the officers — Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove — who arrived to execute the warrant, accusing them of "blindly firing" more than 20 shots into the apartment. Taylor was shot eight times and died.

Taylor and Walker had no criminal history or drug convictions, and no drugs were found in the apartment during the raid, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit by Taylor's family — in which Jaynes was not named — also claims that police did not knock or identify themselves before they busted into the apartment.