LOUISVILLE, Ky: One of Kentucky’s top GOP lawmakers tabled legislation banning certain strike barring warrants almost a year after the death of Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was gunned down at her home in several taken over by police during a botched drug raid in Louisville.
Under Senate Speaker Robert Stivers’ bill, arrest warrants would only be issued if there was clear and compelling evidence that the alleged crime is a crime that would qualify a person, if convicted, of violent offender. It stops ahead of a measure sponsored by a Louisville Democrat that would ban all ban warrants, but this bill has not been heard in the legislature.
Taylor’s death in March 2020 sparked a series of protests throughout the summer and into the fall, with many protesters calling on state and state authorities to ban no-coup warrants.
A grand jury indicted an officer with gratuitous endangerment in September for shooting at a neighbor’s apartment. No officer has been charged for his death. Police had an arrest warrant but said they knocked and announced his presence before entering Taylor’s apartment, a claim some witnesses disputed. No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment.
Nonetheless, the Louisvilles Metro Council banned no-cut warrants in June 2020. But Stivers said a total statewide ban was not necessary.
If you look at what the arrest warrant does, it relates to search warrants for terrorist activities or weapons of mass destruction, evidence related to violent offenses, ”he said. So you’re not going to have a situation that has happened here.
State Representative Attica Scott, a Democrat from Louisville who took part in downtown protests last year, had pre-tabled legislation banning all strike ban warrants in August 2020. Entitled Breonna’s Law It also describes the penalties applicable to officers who abuse body cameras and order drug and blood alcohol tests for officers involved in fatal incidents.
Republicans hold supermajorities in both the House and the Senate.
Scott, the only black woman in the Kentuckys legislature, said GOP lawmakers should have listened more to black lawmakers and community activists.
I just don’t understand why he and other white Republican members of this legislature cannot bring themselves to follow the example of blacks, ”she said. We could work together to amend House Bill 21, to make it even stronger and to incorporate some of his thoughts and ideas.
The Senate speaker defended the legislation at a press conference on Tuesday, where he joined a bipartisan group of state lawmakers to unveil legislation that would create an economic development district in the predominantly Black neighborhood. West End of Louisville.
The measure would return 80% of the neighborhood’s local tax revenue to the community over a 30-year period. A council would manage the funds and would include members of local community groups, businesses and colleges. It would take at least 50% black.
Democratic State Senator Gerald Neal dismissed fears that current residents would be evicted from the neighborhood as more businesses move in, insisting the bill prevents the move because it requires affordable housing and freezes property taxes for homeowners living in the neighborhood starting January 2021.
While we’ll make sure residents have better options and more affordable leases, our ultimate goal is to have more occupied housing, because we know that creates generational wealth, said Neal, who is black.
Stivers, who represents a district in eastern Kentucky, acknowledged that the bill would need the support of state lawmakers.
We need this awareness of the state to generate support for this initiative. It must come from Paducah; he must be from Pikeville, ”added Stivers. Louisville has to be strong for my hometown to be strong.
Hudspeth Blackburn is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative corps. Report for America is a national, non-profit service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on secret issues.
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