What is “Breonna’s Law”?
Virginia governor Ralph Northam signed legislation yesterday which enacted sweeping police reforms, including a ban on no-knock warrants, in the state of Virginia.
- Senate Bill 5030, signed by Governor Northam yesterday, bans no-knock warrants, demilitarizes police units, and seeks to diversify the state Criminal Justice Services Board. It also includes legislation which limits the use of neck restraints including chokeholds by law enforcement officers.
- Northam has been outspoken about his intention to pass police reform since protests swept the country following police departments’ use of excessive force on Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, George Floyd, and others. In a statement yesterday, he said, “too many families, in Virginia and across our nation, live in fear of being hurt or killed by the police.”
- “Breonna’s Law” was first introduced in Louisville, Kentucky following the death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers executing a no-knock warrant; it was passed in Louisville in June. A no-knock warrant allows police officers with a warrant to enter the homes of a suspect without announcing themselves first.
- According to the Pew Research Center, lawmakers in at least nine other states are in the process of passing similar legislation. The only other states to issue statewide legislation banning no-knock warrants are Oregon and Florida.
- Lauds Governor Northam for his progressive and aggressive stance on ending police violence, and is generally in favor of no-knock bans. An op-ed in The Detroit News points out that no-knock warrants are inherently dangerous.
- Points out that, while this is an important step in addressing systemic racism, there is still a long way to go. CNN says that in order to fully address the issues which led to Breonna Taylor’s death, it is necessary to pay even more attention to the structural underpinnings of inequality in the United States.
- Continues to stress the important of legislative police reform. USA Today and Washington Post write that hopefully more states will follow in Virginia’s footsteps.
- Points out that the situation is a little bit more nuanced than the Left is making it out to be. New York Post reported that the officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor did not enter unannounced, and Daily Wire writes that the officers were justified in discharging their weapons because Taylor’s boyfriend drew his weapon first.
- Writes that no-knock warrants are justified in unsafe situations. Fox News reports that frequently, officers need an “element of surprise” in order to safely diffuse violent situations.
- Generally reports that, while the erasure of racism is a noble cause, putting police lives in danger is not the way to go about it. The Blaze reports that the Breonna Taylor incident was a tragedy, but that existing police regulation like body cameras (which were not turned on during the Breonna Taylor raid) are enough to keep officers and citizens safe. The article advocates for legislators and law enforcers to enforce existing rules rather than create new ones that potentially disadvantage police.
© Evelyn Torsher, 2020