New data shows Black people living in Louisville, Kentucky, have been disproportionately targeted by no-knock search warrants from the Louisville Metro Police Department.
Analysis by The Louisville Courier Journal determined that in the past two years 82 percent of no-knock warrants have been served to Black residents. Additionally, 68 percent of those warrants were executed in the predominantly Black West End neighborhood. In comparison, only 23.5 percent of Jefferson County’s population is Black.
The Louisville Metro Council banned no-knock warrants in June, about three months after resident Breonna Taylor was killed during a botched raid at her apartment, according to USA Today. The 26-year-old emergency medical technician was killed after LMPD officers stormed her home to execute a warrant related to a drug case involving her ex-boyfriend. Kenneth Walker, her partner, fired a warning shot and four LMPD officers returned fire.
Walker later claimed he thought the apartment was being burglarized because the police did not announce themselves. LMPD stated the officers announced themselves before they entered.
The Courier Journal data also found Black people were overrepresented in announced searches. An examination of 356 warrants found 243 identified the race of the suspects. White and Black suspects accounted for 48 percent of those warrants each.
Sgt. John Bradley, an LMPD spokesman, insisted Black residents were not being targeted due to their race.
“Each search warrant is based on the evidence surrounding an individual case and gives no consideration to the targeting of any specific race of person, nor geographic area within the city,” he told The Courier Journal.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer supports the no-knock ban.
“The danger which no-knock warrants pose to both civilians and police officers is greater than any benefit,” Jean Porter, a Fischer spokeswoman, told The Louisville Courier Journal. “The top-to-bottom review of LMPD that is underway will look at current policies, procedures and protocols LMPD uses.”
Fischer has also supported the movement seeking justice for Taylor’s family. On Tuesday, the mayor declared racism a public health issue and announced he is signing an executive order for the city’s Advancing Racial Equity plan.
“Advancing racial equity has been a major focus of our work at Metro Government for the past 10 years,” he said, according to WLKY. “But it’s clear that we need to move faster and invest more resources. We need to do everything we can to repair distrust through action.”