By: KDKA-TV’s Jennifer Borrasso
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Five members of Pittsburgh City Council introduced legislation to ban Pittsburgh police from using no-knock warrants.READ MORE: Car Flips Onto Its Roof On 40th Street Bridge
Laws banning no-knock warrants are often called the Breonna Taylor Law. The 26-year-old paramedic was shot and killed by plainclothes police in Kentucky issuing a search warrant on March 13, 2020. Protesters marched across the country, including in Pittsburgh, calling for justice.
The legislation was introduced by Councilman Ricky Burgess, who is confident the bill will pass. He said even though Pittsburgh police do not use no-knock warrants, the bill is about continuing the Black Pittsburgh Matters agenda.
“I think there is a community outcry for this,” Burgess said. “And we want to make sure not just in the moment, but there is no change of policy.”
“We want to establish laws not just for today but for tomorrow,” he added.READ MORE: Police Recover Drugs, Money, And Stolen Guns From Residence In Homewood
Weeks ago, the Alliance for Police Accountability started gathering signatures to get a ballot initiative for the May primary that would ban no-knock warrants. President Brandi Fisher said councilmembers told them that due to the challenges during the pandemic, gathering signatures would be tough. A council vote was then suggested.
“We want them banned,” Fisher said. “Whoever does it, just get it done. But we also want to make sure that people know they did this. This is the people’s win. They need to know that.”
The Mayor’s Office told KDKA that Pittsburgh police do not use no-knock warrants, but the mayor supports council codifying that in law.
The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police does not authorize no-knock warrants, with a spokesperson for Pittsburgh Public Safety saying, “That the bureau has always followed the rules of criminal procedure of the PA Consolidates Statues, which requires police to knock and announce their identity and purpose.”
A spokesperson for the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office said when applying for a search warrant in Pennsylvania, there is no option to request that a judge categorizes it as a no-knock warrant.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: Nursing Home Deaths Fueling Blame
The next step will come on Jan. 27, when council will continue the discussion.