New Report: “No-Knock” Warrants Are Too Dangerous and a Majority of Voters Want Them to be Banned


As protests against police violence and overreach continue across the nation, a report published on Friday details constitutional concerns and broad public opposition to so-called “no knock” warrants, which precipitated the March killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician, in Louisville, Kentucky. These warrants—in use around the country—allow police to force entry into homes without first identifying themselves, often in military-style raids carried out in the middle of the night.

On March 13, three officers burst into the apartment Ms. Taylor shared with boyfriend Kenneth Walker around 12:00 am with a battering ram. Neighbors say the officers—Detectives Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove and Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly—did not identify themselves. Mr. Walker thought they were being robbed and fired one shot with a gun he had a license for, striking an officer in the leg. The officers fired at least 20 times into Ms. Taylor’s apartment, also hitting a neighbor’s home. With no reason to believe the perpetrators were police, Mr. Walker even called 911. Yet, Mr. Walker was immediately arrested by police; he was the one charged with attempted murder.

The report, published by The Justice Collaborative Institute and Data for Progress, brings together the experiences of law enforcement, elected officials, and communities, along with decades of research and new national public polling data. A recent survey conducted by Data for Progress found that more than half (53 percent) of likely voters oppose or strongly oppose the use of no-knock raids entirely. That includes nearly half (45 percent) of Republicans. A strong majority (67 percent) agreed that no-knock raids are more dangerous for everyone involved—police officers, occupants and bystanders. Almost the same number (65 percent) believe that no-knock raids endanger the lives of innocent people, including children.

“No-knock warrants and military-style raids are dangerous and far too common,” said The Justice Collaborative Executive Director Rob Smith. “They demonstrate the ubiquity of bad policing practices—and we now know the public agrees that they do not make our communities safer, but put everyone, including the officer, in danger.”

The new report comes as Taylor has become a rallying cry for anti-police violence protests in Louisville and around the country. She is one of more than 100 individuals — including both civilians and law enforcement officers — killed in no-knock raids since 2010. Countless more have been injured.

The full report is available here.