BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office will no longer authorize no-knock warrants following the death of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky earlier this year, a move the city’s police union called “completely irresponsible.”
The state’s attorney’s office shared a number of policy changes with WJZ, including the end of the no-knock warrant.
“Recent events, such as the tragic killing of Breonna Taylor, have shown that the ends do not justify the means. Seventeen states do not allow this tactic, and our office will also no longer sign off on this dangerous measure,” Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a note to staff which was shared with WJZ.
Other changes include asking for a bench warrant only for felony offenses and under certain circumstances.
“We are currently quashing warrants for offenses we are no longer prosecuting, dismissing pending cases for certain low-level offenses, and do not want people to be held unless absolutely necessary,” Mosby wrote.
The Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police blasted the change. In a statement, union president Mike Mancuso wrote in part:
“There is a time and place for no-knock warrants in law enforcement! A Judge should be the only person who decides whether a no-knock is warranted, after a thorough review of the probable cause in the affidavit.”
Mancuso went on to call the move “completely irresponsible and an overreach, though predictable.”
— Baltimore City FOP (@FOP3) October 14, 2020
Baltimore Defense Attorney Warren Brown said officers sometimes use the tactic of no-knock warrants if necessary.
“It’s usually because of the safety of the officers or the fear of the evidence they expect to be there is going to be destroyed if they say ‘police, police,'” Brown said.
Taylor was shot and killed inside her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment on March 13 as police executed a warrant in a drug case. Taylor’s boyfriend told “CBS This Morning’s” Gayle King in an exclusive interview earlier this week he was “a million percent sure” the officers did not identify themselves as they claimed.
A grand jury declined to charge the officers in Taylor’s death but did charge one former officer, Brett Hankison, with wanton endangerment because some of his bullets hit a neighbor’s apartment.