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Santa Fe to consider ban on no-knock warrants

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – The public will be able to provide input later this month before the Santa Fe City Council considers a proposed ordinance that would ban no-knock warrants and require city police officers to wear body cameras when executing all warrants.

The City Council on Wednesday set a public hearing on the issue for Oct. 28 before a council vote.

The proposed ordinance, introduced by Mayor Alan Webber, would prohibit police officers from executing a warrant at a residence without first announcing or identifying themselves. No-knock warrants are a controversial tactic that has been the subject of nationwide outrage.

The shooting death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of Louisville, Kentucky, police officers in March was particularly controversial, when plainclothes officers entered her home to execute a warrant without body cameras before shooting. Whether officers identified themselves before entering is in dispute.

But while Santa Fe and other municipalities consider bans on no-knock warrants, they have rarely been used by SFPD in recent years.

An introduction of the proposed ordinance says that it has been at least 10 years since officers in Santa Fe used the method and that all officers are already required to wear body cameras, even before the state made it mandatory for all law enforcement agencies.

“Putting such measures into city ordinance supersedes department policy, and would ensure that (our) department continues with these preferred and best practices as we move forward into the future of public safety,” the ordinance says.

The proposed ordinance would require that all video gathered from executed warrants be maintained for five years.

SFPD Deputy Chief Paul Joye could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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