New Report Uncovers How No-Knock Raids Threaten Police and Civilian Safety
ALEC Report Examines Why Some State and Local Governments Have Reconsidered the Controversial Tactic
Arlington, Va. (Oct. 12, 2022) – Today, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released a first-of-its-kind report, No-Knock Raids: Examining the Risk, Controversy and Constitutionality. Since the start of the pandemic, violent crime has risen to dangerous levels not seen in two decades, putting all Americans at greater risk. As law enforcement’s use of no-knock raids becomes more frequent, the new ALEC report explores the unintended consequences for both police officers and civilians.
No-knock warrants are judicially authorized search warrants that allow law enforcement to forcibly enter a residence without announcing their presence or identifying themselves before doing so. These searches are referred to as “no-knock” raids because they omit the standard “knock and announce” element most search warrants executions provide.
Police failing to knock, announce their presence, and identify themselves before forcibly entering someone’s home can create a dangerous situation where civilians may reasonably mistake officers for criminal intruders. Many subjects of no-knock search warrants have done just that and chosen to defend themselves. Unfortunately, this often results in unnecessary violence.
Infamously, Breonna Taylor was killed during a no-knock raid in Louisville, Kentucky in March 2020 after her boyfriend Kenneth Walker shot an officer, unaware that those breaking into the apartment were police. Attempted murder charges against Walker were dismissed by prosecutors given the conflict created by the search.
Today, there are an estimated 20,000 no-knock raids executed in the United States each year. Between 2010 and 2016, police officers represented 20% of fatalities associated with no-knock warrants. The use of no-knock raids is banned in five states: Connecticut, Florida, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia.
“Though no-knock raids are well-intentioned with the goal of public service, it has become evident in recent years that these raids hold a potential for grave danger and unnecessary violence,” said Kentucky Representative Kim Moser, ALEC Criminal Justice Task Force Chair. “Legislators and other local public officials are seriously reexamining how to best limit the use of this practice to better serve and protect our communities.”
“Given the heightened risk for injury or death—for both civilians and police officers—it is unsurprising that numerous localities, the states, and the federal government are all reexamining the practice of no-knock raids,” said Nino Marchese, report author and ALEC Criminal Justice Task Force Director. “In the past few years, states have made a resounding effort to improve policing practices in general and addressing no-knock warrant practices should be a top priority. Policymakers should strive to maximize liberty, while prioritizing the safety of both law enforcement officers and civilians.”
“With America’s law enforcement officers facing a deadly crime wave, policy makers must do more to reduce their risk of injuries and fatalities,” noted ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson. “Reevaluating no-knock raids could protect our men and women in blue.”
The ALEC Criminal Justice Task Force advances solutions that refocus criminal justice resources on dangerous individuals and put the right programs in place to hold those who commit nonviolent offenses accountable while providing them with the resources they need to reenter society successfully. The Criminal Justice Task Force focuses on corrections and reentry, pretrial release, over criminalization, sentencing reform, and transparency and accountability within the criminal justice system.
The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit: www.alec.org.