Louisville police made national headlines earlier this year when officers serving a warrant mistakenly forced themselves into the home of Breonna Taylor and fatally shot her. The warrant was for a previous occupant who reportedly kept drugs in the apartment. This was after Aurora Colorado police placed a 23-year-old African-American massage therapist in a chokehold and sedated him for wearing a ski mask in public. He went into cardiac arrest, was declared brain dead and subsequently died after being removed from life support in August 2019.
Several cities across the country have changed its laws regarding no-knock warrants. Now the Aurora City Council voted 7-3 to ban no-knock police raids. If the law goes into effect, it would be the first (and likely not last) city in Colorado to do it.
A new law could diffuse armed conflicts
The ACLU Legal Director in Colorado referred to the no-knock law as a recipe for armed conflict. The state has the so-called “Make My Day” law, where Colorado homeowners can shoot and kill intruders in self-defense if they believe that the person intends to commit a crime or use physical force. Obviously, this would mean less potential for law enforcement to be shot or to replicate the mistake in Louisville.
Critics claim the law would be a mistake
Some point out that violent crimes are up 25% in Aurora in 2020 over 2019. At the same time, the number of arrests there dropped 35%. Aurora police also point out that no-knock warrants require a judge’s signature and are rarely issued.
Citizens must protect their rights
Law enforcement is supposed to protect and serve the communities where they work. Unfortunately, the above police-related fatalities are extreme but not isolated. Those who feel the police overstepped their boundaries often need the protection provided by an experienced criminal law attorney. These legal professionals can help protect the accused’s rights and make sure the charges fit the crime.