Abolish no-knock warrants

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On March 13th, 2020, the Louisville Police Department burst into Breonna Taylor's home without announcing their presence and fired 22 bullets. Moments later, Breonna Taylor was killed, having been shot eight times although being unarmed. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, had fired one shot in self-defense and was a legal gun carrier, and neither of the two had a criminal record or any drug convictions. The warrant that the police had acted on was a no-knock warrant for drug dealing, at the wrong address and in search of a suspect who had already been arrested. No drugs were found at Breonna Taylor's home.

This is one of many no-knock warrants that have been botched at the cost of human life. Many no-knock raids are based upon false information and non-corroborated tips, leading to the unfortunate fact that wrong-door raids are exceptionally common. Ordinarily, raids are executed between 12 and 6am, and cause their victims to believe they are being robbed. Like Kenneth Walker, many had fired or raised their guns in self-defense, but get caught in shooting standoffs with the police - most of which turn out to be fatal. In the cases of Kathryn Johnston, Jose Guerena, Todd Blair, David Hooks, Mickey Coy, Ismael Mena, Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nichols, the police are responsible for innocent deaths. No-knock warrants do more harm than good and abolishing them would benefit everyone involved.

No-knock warrants are instituted mainly for the cause of catching drug dealers and users before such people have time to destroy any incriminating evidence. However, this applies to minor narcotics allegations: large amounts of drugs cannot be destroyed in the short time after a police officer knocks. An ardent defender of the 4th amendment and Republican senator, Rand Paul, said in a recent interview that "no-knock warrants should be forbidden." He goes on to say that "No one should lose their life in pursuit of a crime without a victim," which raises questions about the overuse of no-knock raids in narcotics branches of police departments across the nation.