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‘No-knock’ warrants by police banned in Aurora, Colorado

October 20, 2020 GMT

DENVER (AP) — City officials in Aurora, Colorado, have banned ‘no-knock’ police raids, the latest effort to reform law enforcement tactics after police fatally shot Breonna Taylor in her Kentucky apartment this year.

The Aurora City Council voted 7-3 on Monday to prohibit police from forcibly entering a property without first identifying themselves as officers of the law, The Denver Post reported. Aurora may be the first city in Colorado to ban the tactic, the newspaper reported.

The ACLU of Colorado has long raised concerns about the dangers “no-knock” warrants pose to occupants and police officers. Legal director Mark Silverstein called them a recipe for “an armed confrontation,” particularly in Colorado, where a “Make My Day” law makes it legal for a homeowner to shoot and kill an intruder in self-defense if they believe the person intends to commit a crime and use physical force.

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The measure was introduced by Councilwoman Angela Lawson. Councilman Dave Gruber opposed it, arguing that the city is overreacting to criticism over the fatal arrest of Elijah McClain and the subsequent protests.

“The pendulum has swung so far to one side that crime is going up and arrests are doing down,” he said.

City data shows that major violent crimes such as murder, assault and sex assault have increased by 25% from the beginning of the year through mid-September compared to the same time last year. Meanwhile, arrests dropped 35%, the Post reported.

Gruber said “no-knock” warrants are rare and need a judge’s signature, but are critical in giving police an “element of surprise” when dealing with dangerous suspects.

Aurora Police Association Vice President Doug Wilkinson said the warrants are reserved for extremely dangerous suspects, and without the option, officers will be more likely to engage suspects in less controlled environments, increasing the potential for violence.