NYPD defends no knock warrants as crucial for drug, gun searches

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea on Thursday defended the department's use of so-called no-knock warrants, saying any serious talk of doing away with these warrants would result in serious harm to police work -- especially cracking down on guns.

Video Transcript

- New York City's top cop defending the NYPD's use of so-called no-knock warrants. Commissioner Dermot Shea says any serious talk of doing away with these warrants would result in what he calls serious harm to police work, especially trying to crack down on guns. No-knock warrants, says the commissioner, helping in the 60% increase in gun arrests so far this year. But these warrants also have downsides. And sometimes there are big downsides. Eyewitness News reporter Mike Marza with the story and the controversy. He's live at NYPD headquarters. Mike?

MIKE MARZA: Bill, critics of these no-knock warrants say they are often wrong and un-useful and too risky. But police saying today they are a valuable tool to get often violent subjects off the streets. A woman shot in the face at point blank range. She survived. Police say the shooter, a high-ranking gang member, was arrested in Virginia.

JOE KENNY: This underscores how when we deal with search warrants and we go through doors, we often deal with dangerous people.

MIKE MARZA: The NYPD defending its use of no-knock warrants.

[CLAMORING]

RODNEY HARRISON: No-knock warrants are a critical tool to the NYPD uses to keep narcotics off the streets and to seize illegal firearms.

MIKE MARZA: Last year, the NYPD secured 1,815 so-called no-knock warrants. They say they seized 792 firearms. And in 667 cases, recovered narcotics. Across the country, there is growing confusion over the use of no-knock warrants after police executing a warrant in Kentucky shot and killed Breonna Taylor at her home.

TIJUANA BROWN: I've been speaking to different people trying to really get the law changed with no-knock warrants.

MIKE MARZA: The NYPD served a search warrant at Tijuana Brown's house in Queens last month.

JOE KENNY: The community called the NYPD for help, lodging complaints about drug sales and firearms at this location.

MIKE MARZA: Police say her nephew, Andre Brown, sold undercover officers marijuana from the house three times in February and March.

JOE KENNY: He has eight prior arrests and is currently on parole for violent robbery, in which he stabbed his victim.

MIKE MARZA: Andre Brown asked us not to show him on camera, but told us he doesn't deal drugs.

ANDRE BROWN: Who sells drugs at their house? In their right mind? Who does stuff in the actual house where they actually live?

MIKE MARZA: Police found some marijuana in the house. The district attorney did not charge him. And police say in the Brown case, the use of the no-knock warrant was justified.