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No-Knock Legislation Withdrawn By Baltimore County Councilman

Baltimore County

Baltimore County Councilman Julian Jones has given up for now on legislation that would have restricted when police could use no-knock warrants.

Jones withdrew the bill Tuesday. He did not have the votes to get it through the county council, according to council members.

The legislation would have banned police officers from entering a home with no warning if they were doing it to prevent evidence from being destroyed. Councilman Jones told council members Tuesday he was running out of time to work out a compromise.

“Instead of trying to rush it, we would just slow it down a little bit,” Jones said. “I will continue to meet with the various people that are involved, and reintroduce the bill at a later date.”

This was always going to be a tough sell.

Council members feared it could put police officers in jeopardy and make it harder to do their jobs.

Democratic Councilman Tom Quirk and Republican Councilman David Marks, in separate texts, said a majority of council members had concerns.

The county council earlier this month passed police reform legislation introduced by Jones. He did not include no-knock restrictions in that, because it could have sunk the entire bill.

The legislation Jones withdrew also spelled out when no-knock warrants could be used, for instance when investigating certain crimes like firearms possession and child abuse and if there is a threat of violence.

“I need to make several changes,” Jones said in a text after withdrawing the bill. “I need to talk to more people.”

No-knock warrants became controversial after the March shooting death of Breonna Taylor by police in Louisville, Kentucky. Taylor was lying in her bed when she was shot eight times after police stormed her apartment with no warning.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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