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'This Tension Is Palpable.' Lexington Enacts Total Ban On No-Knock Warrants

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Three hours of debate and passionate public comment preceded Thursday night’s council vote to ban no-knock warrants in Lexington.

"This tension is palpable, both in our community and in this room," Councilman David Kloiber said, describing the increasingly sharp disagreements over the proposal.

What he heard was a question of maintaining the public’s confidence in the people sworn to protect them. "This issue is not simply an evaluation of a rarely-used police procedure," he continued. "At its heart, this is an issue of trust. "

The council ultimately voted 10-5 to bar the controversial warrants, also narrowly defeating a proposed amendment that would have allowed the warrants under more restrictive rules.

Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers urged the council to take into account the nature of the situations that law enforcement and the community can face.

"What I would like to see is us not focus on the types of crimes, but the type of violent criminal activity that we sometimes have to address," Weathers testified. 

But that said, Weathers added it’s the council’s job to answer to constituents and his department to enact whatever changes they approve.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton, who has opposed an across-the-board elimination of the warrants, says  she has signed the measure, bypassing any option to veto.

With Thursday’s vote, Lexington becomes the second Kentucky city to ban no-knock warrants.

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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