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No-knock warrants are never justifiable

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Radley Balko has a depressing thread about how difficult it would be to prosecute most if not all the cops responsible for murdering Breonna Taylor on homicide charges:

As Balko says, if cops fired shots from outside the house (which in my understanding is very likely the case) they don’t have a plausible case for self-defense and should be charged. But sadly given the warrant it would probably be impossible to convict the cops at the door with murder in the Taylor case even with a fair jury.

Which is the larger structural problem here. No-knock warrants are indefensible in themselves — essentially, they’re premised on the idea that minimizing the risk of the destruction of evidence in drug cases is more important that the safety and security of the person in their homes, a premise that is at war with the Fourth Amendment. But allowing for no-knock warrants in a stand-your-ground jurisdiction is particularly absurd. It’s insane for no-knock warrants to be issued in a context in which basically all the parties can potentially have a legal right to shoot at each other. (Another important point raised in the thread is that it’s instructive that they didn’t think they could make charges against Walker stick.)

These officers should be fired and prosecuted for whatever charges they can be viably charged with. But the bigger lesson here is that no-knock warrants are inevitably going to lead to violent confrontations that aren’t necessary, and the steady erosion of the “probable cause” requirement for warrants from various angles makes the problem even worse. The most important remedy that can follow from Taylor’s murder is for more state legislatures to follow Louisville’s city council in banning no-knock warrants (and the next Dem Congress should ban them for federal law enforcement too.)

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