LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed a partial ban on strike ban warrants on Friday after months of protests sparked by the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor at her home in a botched police raid Last year.
The law signed by the Democratic governor is not the total ban demanded by many protesters and some Democratic lawmakers – a proposal that had been presented as ‘Breonna’s law’ – but it does not prevent them either. individual cities to ban warrants altogether.
The measure has attracted bipartisan support in the legislature, where Republicans hold veto-proof supermajorities in the House and Senate. The law only allows not guilty warrants if there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the crime under investigation “would qualify a person, if convicted, as a violent offender.”
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician from Louisville who is studying to be a nurse, was shot and killed several times in March 2020 after being woken up from her bed by police. No drugs were found and the warrant was subsequently found to be faulty.
“It’s a significant change,” Beshear said. “It will save lives and lead us in the right direction. I know more needs to be done. I know the fight is not over.
Members of the Taylor family stood behind the governor as the bill was signed, at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in Louisville. Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, shed tears as she accepted the pen the governor had used to sign the measure.
“While this is not the complete legislation they wanted in terms of a complete ban on non-hitting terms, they believe this is a start and a victory in a deeply divided General Assembly.” said family lawyer Lonita Baker.
Baker added that the family looks forward to working with lawmakers on future legislation aimed at further restricting warrants and increasing police accountability.
“Breonna’s Law” would have banned all arrest warrants, outlined penalties for officers who abuse body cameras, and mandatory drug and alcohol testing for officers involved in “fatal incidents”.
Under the law that was passed, arrest warrants must be executed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and officers must take additional steps to obtain warrants. Judges are also required to sign legibly upon approval and an EMT must now be nearby while the warrant is being executed.
In the Taylor case, an arrest warrant was approved as part of a Louisville Metro Police Department narcotics investigation. Nonetheless, officers said they knocked and announced their presence before entering Taylor’s apartment, although some witnesses disputed this claim.
In September, a grand jury indicted one of the officers with gratuitous endangerment for shooting at a neighbor’s apartment, but none were charged in connection with Taylor’s death. This was in part based on the presentation of Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who recommended no charges against the officers who shot Taylor’s apartment.
One of these officers, Myles Cosgrove, was fired. Federal ballistics experts have said they believe the gunshot that killed Taylor came from Cosgrove. The police department also fired officer Joshua Jaynes, who obtained the warrant.
Virginia passed a ban on all strike ban warrants last year. Warrants are also not permitted in Florida and Oregon.