Reading Linda Blackford’s plea to council to sustain their votes banning no-knock warrants in the face of FOP pressure reminded me that some of those council members voiced strong support for police reform just last year.
But the council has frequently shown an unwillingness to stand for principle. Their preferred political parties (they’re officially non-partisan) don’t seem to play a role here. Voters deserve a council unafraid of lobbyists and special interests. They deserve a council that understands the long-term consequences of their votes. They deserve a council capable of not only understanding the issues, but confident enough to explain the issues so voters understand why a particular policy is correct. We may need a full-time council for the serious risks present today, from police reform, to pension liabilities, to ransomware and more, but I’m actually afraid that in that most political of paradoxes, even less work would get done.
Linda mentioned the FOP lawyer Scott Crosbie. He recently joined the local Republican Party Executive Committee, and at the June 21 meeting introduced a two-page statement for a vote outlining a repudiation of council’s no-knock warrant ban, among other things that we had little time to read, and that we were all forced to vote on nearly immediately by the chair. Dissent, and a motion to postpone were swiftly crushed. Some never even heard an opportunity to vote no. The party intended to disseminate this statement as a unified message to the public, despite there being widespread disagreement on this issue within the party, exemplified by Senator Rand Paul introducing a no-knock ban bill in the U.S. Senate last year.
I encourage everyone to recognize that we’ve entered a polar environment where police are characterized as either all bad, as the left frequently espouses, or portrayed as faultless public servants on the right. As usual, there’s nuance that has been neglected in the chaos surrounding calls for defunding police and targeting officers as Lebron James infamously did (he later deleted the tweet).
Police hold one of the least regulated professions in the country, as evident by the detective who falsified the search warrant affidavit for Breonna Taylor’s home. The rest of us would go to prison for lying on a government document. He just lost his job.
Mr. Crosbie and LPD have voiced their concerns that no-knock warrants are a valuable tool. Many of us on both sides of the political aisle disagree. There have been major no-knock failures in both Lexington and Louisville in the past few years, leading to significant fear, taxpayer-funded financial settlements, and even the death of an unarmed woman. The great thing about drug dealers is that they’ll always give the police another chance to take them down. We’ll never get Breonna Taylor back.
Barry Saturday has served the Lexington community as a social studies teacher, financial advisor, past HOA President, and 2018 candidate for city council.