No-Knock Raids: Examining the Risk, Controversy and Constitutionality

by Nino Marchese

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Today, there are an estimated 20,000 no-knock raids executed in the United States each year. As law enforcement’s use of no-knock raids becomes more frequent, this 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.