One of many things I’ve worried about over the years is the idea of a misplaced no-knock raid coming to my door. After all, if someone busts in my door in the middle of the night, I’m likely to start firing before I realize they’re police. That could result in officers being killed as well as myself or a member of my family.
The one thing that actually keeps me from completely freaking out about it is that such accidents are rare. However, things happen.
While there’s a lot to unpack with regard to what happened to Breonna Taylor, it doesn’t look like police hit the wrong house. Regardless, though, she’s dead, and now a lot of attention is being paid to no-knock warrants.
Like Columbus, more than two dozen state and local jurisdictions have introduced or finalized policies to restrict the use of no-knock warrants since June. Virginia could join Florida and Oregon in banning the practice entirely, if the governor signs a recently approved bill.
“This legislation, it allows [Breonna Taylor’s] name, her story to literally be a catalyst of dismantling systems that have been in place and have been causing harm to our, by ‘our’ I mean Black and brown, communities,” said Virginia state Del. Lashrecse Aird, a Democrat who introduced the bill.
But some lawmakers and police groups oppose banning no-knock warrants, saying they are useful in dangerous situations.
“The element of surprise is one of the best tools,” said Wayne Huggins, executive director of the Virginia State Police Association. “When you have to knock and announce, you’ve given up the element of surprise.”
No-knock warrants became a popular policing technique in the late 1980s. The warrants, typically issued by a judge, allow law enforcement to enter a home without notice to anyone inside. This practice can give police two major advantages: One, a suspect can’t hide evidence. Two, a suspect is less likely to be ready with a weapon.
But even with those advantages, the warrants have been dangerous — for both residents and law enforcement.
Let’s be honest here. I’m not a fan of no-knock warrants. However, there are times when they do actually make sense.
Much like Joe Biden telling police to shoot people in the leg, it’s generally a bad idea for politicians to tell police how to do their jobs. Yes, there should be oversight, but when politicians tell police what not to do, even if it makes more sense from a safety standpoint, then bad things can happen.
Instead of banning no-knock raids, it would make more sense to limit them to some degree. Yes, use them in dangerous situations, but don’t automatically assume every situation is dangerous simply because you can.
Unfortunately, right now, public opinion is strongly against these raids. That means lawmakers from both parties will try to ban these kinds of warrants simply because it’ll help them score points that they’ll need come election time.
There’s a good chance that we’ll see the end of these kinds of warrants being issued. I’m just not sure that’s a good thing.