Virginia Gov. Northam signs ‘Breonna’s Law’, becomes 3rd state to ban no-knock search warrants

Around the South

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ceremonially signed “Breonna’s Law” on Monday. This will make Virginia the third state to ban no-knock search warrants in response to Breonna Taylor’s death.

Virginia will be the third state in the country to ban this practice—and the first state to do so since the tragic death of Breonna Taylor, 26, who was killed in March during the execution of a no-knock search warrant in her Louisville, Kentucky home.

It prohibits police from going into a home without first announcing themselves.

Two other states, Oregon and Florida, already had similar bans. The law goes into effect in March.

Taylor, and so many others, we honor them when change laws, when we act to right long-standing wrongs, and when we do the work to make sure more names do not follow theirs.” 

Taylor’s aunt’s, Bianca Austin and Tahasha Holloway, attended Northam’s signing of the law. While they thanked lawmakers for their work banning no-knock warrants, they said justice still has not been achieved.

“We are so honored for these gestures and these laws but let us not forget that Breonna Taylor still needs justice,” Austin said.

The bill was sponsored by Del. Lashrecse Aird, D-Chesterfield, and Sen. Mamie Locke, D. They said introducing this bill was personal and its passage is a win for racial equality.

“Black girls, their lives do matter,” Del. Aird said.

Maggie DeBoard, president of the Virginia Association for Chiefs of Police, said no-knock warrants were already very rare in the commonwealth. Even so she still has concerns about banning the tactic completely and she’s even more worried about the requirement that warrants be served during the day unless officers get the approval of a judge.

“This is the one bill that I lose sleep over,” DeBoard said. “The administrative requirements that they have put in place are dysfunctional and they’re going to create significant safety concerns for our officers and our community.”

Northam also signed House Bill 5099 and Senate Bill 5030 this year.

The new laws will help advance police and criminal justice reform, including reducing the militarization of local policing, strengthening law enforcement training and the decertification process, and limiting the use of neck restraints.

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