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Bill would ban 'no knock' warrants in state

Posted at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The Brillion News

MADISON - Scenes where SWAT teams ram doors and serve search or arrest warrants without knocking first would be a thing of the past under a bill being introduced in the Wisconsin State Assembly by Representative LaKeshia Myers, D-Milwaukee.

Her office announced the legislation on February 1, naming the initiative :"Breonna's Law" - after Kentucky EMT Breonna Taylor, who was killed when Louisville Police mistakenly raided her apartment last March when executing a "no knock" warrant.

"No-knock warrants are harmful to civilians and law enforcement officers alike," Myers said.

She cited the line-of-duty death of Milwaukee Police officer Matthew Rittner, who was killed in 2019 as a member of a SWAT team executing a no-knock warrant.

[Photo at right >> Officer Matthew Rittner]

Wisconsin was the first state to allow no-knock warrants, in the 1997 case of Richards v. Wisconsin.

Madison criminal defense attorney Mark Eisenberg said that case involved an unannounced search for drugs in a hotel room.

Appeals in that case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that no-kinock warrants could be approved by a court is there is a reasonable suspicion that announcing police presence would be dangerous or would impede the investigation.

"No-knock warrants remain more prevalent in our state than in other states," Eisenberg wrote.

"As the state that created no-knock warrants, Wisconsin has the responsibility to be the state to end their use," Myers said.


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