‘No-knock’ raids have too much potential to end in tragedy to continue
Law enforcement agencies throughout the nation have been rethinking their tactics this year, in efforts to prevent tragedies such as the death in March of Louisville, Kentucky, resident Breonna Taylor.
Taylor died during a raid by police investigating illegal drug trafficking — with which she was not alleged to have been involved. She perished in a hail of bullets after police burst into her apartment and her boyfriend, who says he thought criminals had invaded their home, opened fire. Police fired back and Taylor was killed.
Louisville police insist they announced their presence before breaking down the apartment door. Taylor’s boyfriend has said he did not hear the officers.
Law enforcement agencies sometimes use “no-knock” raids in such situations. They do not reveal their presence before charging into homes and apartments. The consequences, whether targets of a raid are not alerted or, in the Taylor case, may not hear warnings, can be tragic.
“No-knock” raids should be banned for that reason. Indeed, they sometimes give law enforcement the opportunity to prevent destruction of evidence — but they also can result in needless violence, including deaths.
It is to be hoped that law enforcement agencies will abandon “no-knock” tactics on their own. Where they do not, state legislators should step in and enact statutory bans.