Police disproportionately targeted Black residents for “no-knock” search warrants like the one that led officers to Breonna Taylor’s door the night they fatally shot her, the Louisville Courier Journal reports. The findings echo the concerns of civil rights advocates and experts who say no-knock warrants are used more frequently against minorities. “The common factors are the poor and people of color – in a highly disproportionate way,” said Prof. Peter Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University who studies law enforcement’s use of military tactics and equipment. In the past two years, before the city banned them in June, Louisville officers received court approval for at least 27 no-knock warrants, allowing police to break in to homes without first knocking, announcing themselves and waiting for residents to respond.
A Courier Journal analysis showed that for 22 of those warrants, 82 percent of the listed suspects were Black and 68 percent were for addresses in a section of Louisville with predominantly Black neighborhoods. Several warrants remain sealed by a judge. State Rep. Attica Scott, sponsor of Breonna’s Law, which would ban no-knock search warrants statewide, said the findings are an example of over-policing in Louisville’s Black communities. “Policing has historically, and continues to be, racially disparate,” she said. “It’s not mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually healthy for people to live in fear of law enforcement or to cringe when they see them coming.” Supporters of no-knocks said they help protect officers searching for potentially dangerous suspects who might be armed.