HARRISBURG (December 8, 2020) – Senator Tim Kearney (D – Delaware/Chester) today announced he will re-introduce “Breonna’s Law” to ban no-knock warrants, which allow law enforcement to forcibly enter a person’s home without warning.
Kearney introduced the bill in the 2020 legislative session, but it was not given a vote. The bill is named after Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American woman who was fatally shot eight times by police in March 2020 after three plainclothes officers used a no-knock warrant to enter her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.
“I am re-introducing Breonna’s Law because I’m not giving up the fight,” said Kearney. “Breonna Taylor should be alive today, and we must ensure what happened to her never happens again.”
Kearney’s bill would require law enforcement officers to knock and announce themselves when serving a warrant, waiting at least 15 seconds for a response. It requires officers to wear body cameras during a search, as well as five minutes before and after the operation. Officers would also have to wear clothing that clearly identifies themselves as law enforcement. No-knock warrants have been banned in Oregon and Florida.
In his co-sponsorship memo, Kearney notes that no-knock warrants clash with the basic concept of self-defense: “Pennsylvania follows the Castle Doctrine, which allows a person to use deadly force to defend their home against intruders. Allowing police to forcibly invade a home without warning, but also allowing a homeowner to use force to protect themselves, is an invitation for catastrophe for police.”
Kearney has launched a Citizen Co-Sponsorship Campaign, where residents of Pennsylvania can add their name to support Breonna’s Law. So far, more than 600 Pennsylvanians from 32 different counties have added their name. Those who want to become a citizen co-sponsor can go to: www.senatorkearney.com/breonnaslaw