Such warrants are common practice across the country, often carried out when police want to bust suspects for drugs without them getting away. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said police did knock when they were at Taylor’s door.
But Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was asleep when police arrived at her home after midnight, according to a timeline from the Courier Journal. Her boyfriend said he was terrified when the officers entered, and fired warning shots, thinking they were intruders.
The three Louisville officers fired 32 shots in return, according to Cameron. Six of those struck Taylor and one killed her.
The drug suspect police were looking for was not there, and did not live at Taylor’s apartment.
A grand jury decided on Wednesday not to charge two of the officers involved in the raid, and charged a third with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.
The charges against Brett Hankison are for firing shots into a neighboring apartment. None of the charges are related to police officers killing her.
In the wake of Taylor’s death, Louisville banned its police department from conducting no-knock raids. Other cities, such as Houston, have done the same, and Oregon has implemented a statewide ban.
Oftentimes, there are exceptions to rules against such raids. Florida’s Supreme Court ruled against no-knock warrants in 1994, the Orlando Sentinel reported, but allowed several caveats where police can still execute them.
Police raids across the country have left a trail of deaths and trauma
Police departments across the country have faced lawsuits over raids gone wrong.
At worst, officers have killed innocent people. At best, they have left families scarred and traumatized, but alive. Experts have estimated police carry out 20,000 no-knock raids across the US each year.
Police have argued in the past that unannounced raids are safer for the officers conducting them, since the suspects will be caught off-guard.
But nationwide, drug raids have proven deadly to both civilians and police officers — a 2017 New York Times investigation found that at least 47 civilians and five officers died in knock-and-announce searches between 2010 and 2016, and at least 31 civilians and eight officers died in no-knock raids in the same time period.
Typically, lawsuits are the only way for victims of wrongful raids to get justice, and not all of them result in a settlement. A number of cases in recent years have prompted outrage after officers who killed or injured innocent civilians were protected from lawsuits due to a doctrine known as “qualified immunity.”
In one 2017 case, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of a Florida deputy who fatally shot a legally armed, innocent man inside his home after knocking on his door at 1:30 a.m., intending to ask about a motorcycle parked out front.
The deputy was protected under qualified immunity, even though the man he killed was not a criminal suspect, the deputy had no warrant, and he had not identified himself as a law enforcement officer.
The city of Louisville agreed earlier this month to pay Taylor’s family $12 million to settle their wrongful-death lawsuit.
Another woman in Chicago, who spoke to Insider in August, was the victim of a botched drug raid in February.
Chicago Police burst into Sharon Lyons’ home to execute a search warrant, looking for a suspect named “Blondie,” whom they believed was selling heroin out of the apartment, according to a federal lawsuit Lyons filed in June. But no one by that name was connected with Lyons’ home.
Lyons, 55, has sued the Chicago Police Department over the incident, and said they left her and her family traumatized and permanently fearful for their own safety. The Chicago PD declined to comment on the case, citing ongoing litigation.
“I wish they would have knocked on my door,” Lyons told Insider. “I would have let them in.”
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