Metro Council passes Breonna’s Law, “No-Knock” warrants are banned for LMPD

June 11, 2020

Louisville – In a unanimous vote, the Louisville Metro Council has banned the use of “No-Knock” warrants after passing Breonna’s Law, an ordinance which also sets guidelines for the execution of all search warrants by Louisville Metro Police officers and requires active body camera whenever a warrant is served.

Breonna’s Law came about following the death of 26 year-old-Breonna Taylor on March 13th who was killed in her apartment after the execution of a “No-Knock” warrant.

“A few weeks ago, the community began to cry out for justice and change. You spoke, we listened, and tonight we took action to save lives – the lives of our citizens and the lives of our law enforcement officers. Breonna Taylor worked and lived to save lives as a first responder and an Emergency Medical Technician,” said Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith (D-4). “Together we passed Breonna’s Law and together we say her name – Breonna Taylor.”

“After listening the people of our community, the Metro Council has approved the first of many steps to needed reforms guaranteeing public safety and preserve the rights of all under the law. Working with all my colleagues, this Ordinance is a bipartisan effort for change. A change I hope will begin to restore the communities trust in law enforcement and elected officials who represents them,” said Councilwoman Jessica Green (D-1), “We must not forget Breonna Taylor. We honor her with this new law and may this law prevent any future tragedies.” 

Councilwomen Sexton Smith and Green led the effort for Breonna’s Law following outcries from the community over the benefit of such a warrant used by LMPD officers.

“I am proud of this Metro Council. Our action tonight sets an example for other cities to follow. We will never experience the loss Breonna’s family is dealing with every day. We are with them and at the same time, this council is saying the time has come right a wrong, a wrong of more than 400 years. I am proud that we are first in justice for all,” said President David James (D-6).

Breonna’s Law bans “No-Knock” warrants and now sets procedures for executing all search warrants.

Physically knock on an entry door to the premises in a manner and duration that can be heard by the occupants.
Clearly and verbally announce as law enforcement having a search warrant in a manner than can be heard by the occupants.
Absent exigent circumstances, wait a minimum of 15 seconds or for a reasonable amount of time for occupants to answer the door, whichever is greater, before entering the premises.

The law spells out the use of body cameras during the execution of a search warrant:

All LMPD officers present in the execution of a warrant shall be equipped with an operating body camera.
No later than five minutes prior to all warrant executions, each officer on the premises must activate their body camera recording equipment and may not deactivate the equipment any sooner than five minutes following the completion of the execution on of the warrant.
All recorded data must be retained for five years following an executing action.   The recorded data shall be stored in a separate electronic file category designated for this purpose.

The law spells out specific disciplines for any employee of Metro Government for violations of any section of the ordinance ranging from oral reprimand to dismissal under the appropriate union contract, civil service commission rules, or department work rules.

It now goes to Mayor Greg Fischer for his signature.

Statements from Metro Council members on the passage of Breonna’s Law:

“While no action by the Council or anyone else will bring Breonna Taylor back, we took steps today to ensure a similar tragedy does not occur in the future. We have an obligation to ensure that the execution of a search warrant does not endanger our citizens or our officers and I believe this ordinance will lead to a safer community for all.” Councilman Markus Winkler District 17 Majority Caucus Chair

“Although this resolution will not be able to change the past, I am confident that our hours of work reviewing this matter will lead to a better city and better policies meant to protect both our citizens as well as the officers that serve the community. I thank the family of Ms. Breonna Taylor for the time they have spent helping bringing this reform to light and I hope the Metro Council can continue to work in a bi-partisan nature to support additional efforts to help our community heal and address injustice.” Councilman Kevin Kramer, District 11, Minority Caucus Chair

“This has been an emotional experience for me. It could have been my daughter, granddaughter, niece or any close member of my family. My heart goes out to Breonna’s family. We must keep the public safe and it is my hope what we have approved tonight will achieve that and keep other families from experiencing this kind of tragedy.” Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin District 2

“People of this community have spoken loudly and with purpose. And this council is listening and responding to the will of the people. While this is not a finish line in the effort toward justice for Breonna, it’s a community-wide victory in the push for fairness and due process.” Councilwoman Keisha Dorsey District 3

"A vote to ban No Knock Warrants is an assurance to the community that we are ready to implement and execute any action necessary to secure their welfare and safety" Councilwoman Donna Purvis District 5

“Tonight my colleagues and I made history by showing courage and leadership. We listened to the voices of our community and the cries around the world for justice.  The healthy debate to get Breonna’s Law to conform to the broad guidelines of the Constitution and the will of the people demonstrated democracy at its best. We showed that government by the people, for the people and of the people reigns supreme.  I couldn’t be prouder to be a member of the Metro Council, representing District 7 and the community at large.” Councilwoman Paula McCraney District 7

"I am proud of the people of Louisville and the Metro Council for passing Breonna’s Law and banning no-knock search warrants.  We have a long road to a just society and the best city we can be, but tonight we took a step in the right direction."  Councilman Brandon Coan District 8

“Tonight's vote is a very important step.  It can't be the last.  Tomorrow, a work group will meet and move forward on the long overdue establishment of a meaningful, sustainable civilian oversight system for LMPD.  Investing in disadvantaged communities needs to be on the agenda as we complete this year's budget. We must keep pushing for systemic change.” Councilman Bill Hollander District 9

“I am proud of the action of the Metro Council tonight. I join my cosponsors in our support of Breonna’s family in the tough days ahead. The rule of law must be enforced to ensure the rights of everyone. The changes we have made here today will protect the rights of the public and police officers. It is just the first step in the change need to restore the community’s trust in our local law enforcement.” Councilman Pat Mulvihill District 10

“I can not even pretend to imagine the pain felt by Breonna Taylor’s family and friends but I hope our action tonight, passing Breonna’s Law, gives them some solace. I thank my Metro Council colleagues and our whole community for voicing their outrage and working together towards a solution. Tonight, we affirm that Black Lives Matter.” Councilman Rick Blackwell District 12

"Tonight, I am proud to have been a part of taking the first step in correcting an injustice". Councilman Kevin Triplett District 15

“This ordinance represents the work product of the Metro Council following numerous hours of listening and learning from the mistakes that led to the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor. Our overwhelming and bi-partisan actions today will stop the use no-knock search warrants and require that the administration of search warrants are recorded using police body cameras.” Councilman Scott Reed, District 16

“I am proud to have been able to co-sponsor this ordinance and thank Councilwomen Jessica Green and Sexton-Smith for starting the process of passing this meaningful legislation. The Metro Council began its work on this ordinance a few weeks ago, and by staying focused and listening, we ended up with an ordinance that will address many of our concerns.”  Councilwoman Marilyn Parker, District 18

"Fourth Amendment protections should not be easily circumvented. "No-Knock Warrants" for purposes of searching for evidence have put residents and police officers at an unjustified higher risk of harm. I am proud to sponsor this legislation." Councilman David Yates District 25

“I’m very proud of the steps the Metro Council has taken today to ensure greater public protections when search warrants are being served.  I am sorry that it took this tragedy to bring about these efforts.  My hope is that we will continue to bring about justice reforms to better serve the public, without further tragedies as a driving force for such.” Councilman Brent Ackerson District 26



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