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Black Faith Leaders Question Lexington's Commitment To Police Reforms

Josh James

Black faith leaders in Lexington are pressing ahead with their campaign to ban no-knock warrants in the city. Mayor Linda Gorton has expressed reservations about completely barring the police practice.

A sticking point is over whether to permit the limited use of the controversial warrants in life-and-death circumstances. Rev. David Peoples read aoud from a statement saying the mayor's moratorium, which places new restrictions on the process, doesn't go far enough.

"It does not carry the permanence of an ordinance, and the lack of a willingness to support an ordinance certainly gives the appearance that very little has really changed and that there is a lack of commitment to this and other necessary police reforms," he said.

But Mayor Gorton foresees situations where a total ban could itself result in tragedy.

"My biggest worry is if there really is something that (police) know ahead of time who is in a kidnap situaion or a situation where they're in a house with someone who may threaten their life. That is when those no knocks are used," she said.

While a more permanent ordinance banning the warrants is slated to go before the Urban County Council in June, the faith leaders also see room for improvement in one of its provisions. They say it should force police with search warrants to wait at least 30 seconds before entering after announcing themselves.   

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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