Could we see reform on warrants in wake of Breonna Taylor's death? Pa. lawmakers fight for change

Annie McCormick Image
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Black leaders speak out following ruling in Breonna Taylor case
Many Black community leaders in Philadelphia are speaking as protests erupted across the country following the grand jury decision in Breonna Taylor's death.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- While there are still a lot of questions that remain in the case of Breonna Taylor's death, but more details came to light Wednesday after the Grand Jury decided on charges.

Officials announced that Louisville Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid on the night of March 13 that claimed the life of Taylor.

A grand jury brought no charges for killing Taylor, who was shot multiple times by police who burst into her home during a drug raid gone wrong. While there were no drugs in Taylor's apartment, her boyfriend shot and wounded a police officer. State Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the officers' shots that killed Taylor were fired in self-defense.

In Pennsylvania, state lawmakers believe the process of how law enforcement obtains warrants should be part of recent police reform efforts.

"We do have a bill to get rid of and eliminate no-knock and announce warrants," said Democratic State Representative Joanna McClinton.

McClinton adds its for the safety of police officers as well as the people suspected of the crimes that led to the warrant. That includes the often unsuspecting family or friends that might be inside the home where the warrant is being served.

"The goal is to make sure our men and women in uniform are protected and our men and women who are citizens not in uniform are protected," she said.

READ MORE: Protesters march peacefully in Philadelphia after grand jury ruling in Breonna Taylor case

Protesters gathered in Philadelphia and demonstrated peacefully on Wednesday night following the Kentucky grand jury ruling in the Breonna Taylor case.

In Philadelphia, there are exceptions to the knock and announce rule in place. A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department said Commissioner Danielle Outlaw added a directive in place on September 1 where if investigators feel serving the warrant is too dangerous, the SWAT Team must execute it, due to their additional training.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro spoke Thursday at an event but said he couldn't speak on the specifics of the Taylor case. He said he does see more police reforms happening in the wake of not only Taylor's death but George Floyd's too.

"I was proud to lead the effort in the wake of the killing of George Floyd to be the first state in the nation with a divided government to come together for the creation of a new statewide database to track police officers' misconducts," he said.