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For Some City Leaders, Reservations Remain About Total 'No Knock' Warrant Ban

Josh James

A complete ban on "no knock" warrants is gathering steam in Lexington, but the city's mayor says she has reservations about barring the practice across the board.

A recent unanimous vote in committee shows the idea has momentum and could end up before the full council in June. The action comes on the heels of a push by local Black faith leaders to take further steps to prevent incidents like the one that led to the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville.

Yet both the mayor and the city's chief of police worry a total ban could also result in harm. Mayor Linda Gorton gives the example of a kidnapping situation where someone's life is in danger.

"Do I really want the police to wait at the front door and announce themselves and wait 15 or 30 seconds, which can be an eternity, while someone's in there threatening another person?" she asks. "That's my concern."

Gorton says she feels comfortable with the moratorium she put in place on the warrants amid racial justice demonstrations in Lexington. It allows for an exception when police believe they can save someone's life inside.

A more robust debate is teed up as the issue moves toward the Urban County Council. Backers are hoping to see the new rule in place by July 1, when all officers are slated to be outfitted with body-worn cameras.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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