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Virginia governor signs “Breonna’s Law” to ban no-knock search warrants

Virginia has become the third state to sign the bill into law.

Ralph Northam AP

On Monday (Dec. 7), Governor Ralph Northam signed “Breonna’s Law” into effect for the state of Virginia, which will ban the use of no-knock search warrants much like the one that took place when Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky back in March.

According to NBC 12, Virginia has become the third state to sign the bill into law. “The Commonwealth of Virginia. Only the third state in the nation has taken a bold stand against no-knock warrants, an institutional mechanism that disproportionately terrorizes people of color. Virginia is getting it right,” said Dr. Janice Underwood, Virginia’s Chief Diversity Officer.

Under the new law, search warrants can only be served during daylight hours — unless authorities can give a magistrate or judge a reason for it to be executed at night. Northam said that Virginia is now the first state to have Taylor’s actual name on the law since she was killed earlier this year.

“These are not anti-police measures,” said Northam. “These are pro-people laws. They’re about making our justice system fair and more equitable and they’re about rebuilding trust between our law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police & Foundation (VACP) President Chief Maggie DeBoard released a statement saying they “disagree” with the elimination of no-knock warrants and are concerned about policies in the bill that would place law enforcement and members of the community in danger.

“We have worked diligently with legislators over the past several months, proposing reasonable amendments that would increase the accountability on law enforcement officers during the search warrant process, but eliminate the requirements that would cause critical delays in service when time is of the essence,” she wrote. “These proposals have been ignored. Our citizens and our law enforcement deserve better. We hope to work with the General Assembly to make these critical adjustments in the 2021 season.”

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