While many city officials and LPD officers are suggesting to the public that botched no knock raids only happen in other places, in the last five years, Lexington has paid out a six-figure settlement because officers executed a no knock warrant at the wrong residence. While Chief Lawrence Weathers is trying to convince you that no knocks are a necessary police tool, their botched execution is evidence of an inability to use the tool correctly and endangers the lives of innocent Lexingtonians. If LPD officers cannot be trusted to recognize a correct address and door color prior to engaging in such a critical use of force, they do not need this tool at their disposal.
Additionally, during a recent Council Work Session, Chief Lawrence Weathers claimed that no knock raids are not used for drug related searches. However, a recent open records request revealed that all of the warrants were in fact drug related. In a national survey of data from no knock warrants, it was determined that, "SWAT teams found contraband in only about one third of the drug cases, meaning even if one believes a raid necessary for a drug search, innocent people were placed in life-threatening situations in roughly two out of every three drug raids." (No Knock Warrants and Castle Doctrine) No Knock warrants also disproportionately target Black and Brown citizens.
The current legislation before Council has removed the 15 second minimum waiting period from the originally proposed legislation. Removing this provision nullifies the ordinance banning no knocks by allowing officers to make a subjective determination about how long to wait between knocking, announcing, and entering. This time period could simply be the seconds that pass between the first and second bang of a battering ram against the door. Louisville's No-Knock Ban states: "Absent exigent circumstances, wait a minimum of 15 seconds or for a reasonable amount of time for occupants to answer the door, whichever is greater, before entering the premises." Lexington City Council MUST pass an ordinance banning no-knock warrants including this same language. Anything less is not a ban.