Ohio attorney general does not want no-knock warrants to be eliminated, asks for stricter guidelines instead

Ohio attorney general does not want no-knock warrants to be eliminated, asks for stricter guidelines instead
People in a crowd in Louisville on June 11 hold protests after death of Breonna Taylor (Source: WAVE 3 News)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The state’s attorney general was joined by a group of county prosecutors from across Ohio to discuss the use of no-knock search warrants in the months following Breonna Taylor’s death.

A virtual discussion with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley, and others was held on Thursday afternoon.

Use of controversial no-knock search warrants discussed by Ohio attorney general, county prosecutors

Posted by Cleveland 19 News on Thursday, October 15, 2020

During the discussion, Ohio Attorney General Yost said he is asking state lawmakers to keep the use of no-knock warrants legal, but is seeking reform and stricter guidelines on how they are issued.

Under Yost’s proposal, a no-knock warrant could only be issued if the situation meets certain factors, which would include:

  • A scenario where law enforcement officers would be at a “substantial” risk
  • Officers must wear clearly-identifiable markings and must announce themselves as law enforcement when entering
  • The use and activation of body cameras would be required when available

Yost and the others said the amendment is needed after Taylor’s death to adjust for the “castle doctrine” in Ohio, which allows residents to defend themselves and their families if imminent danger is present.

The Franklin County prosecutor said no-knock warrants are used in a small percentage of drug cases and scenarios involving dangerous individuals; likely less than the number of warrants issued in Cuyahoga County he estimated.

The forum comes after Taylor’s death, which occurred earlier this year when Louisville police executed a warrant at her apartment. Taylor was struck by a bullet during a shootout between police and her boyfriend.

Current Ohio law allows a judge to issue a no-knock warrant, but under much stricter circumstances compared to what is allowed in Kentucky where Taylor’s death occurred.

Several communities, including Cincinnati, are asking their respective councils on the local level to ban no-knock warrants.

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