Deal open to reviewing 'no-knock' warrants

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ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal said Thursday that he’s open to discussing whether legislative changes are necessary regarding “no-knock” warrants, but first he wants to see the results of an investigation into a case involving a toddler hurt in a police raid.

Nathan Deal: Governor wants to see results of a review of the police raid first.  ASSOCIATED PRESS
Nathan Deal: Governor wants to see results of a review of the police raid first.

There was a bipartisan effort by lawmakers in 2007 to tighten rules for such warrants, which are intended to protect officers from dangerous suspects while preventing evidence tampering. The effort, which failed, was prompted by a 2006 case in which an elderly Atlanta woman was killed in a shoot­out with police while they were executing a “no-knock” warrant at her home.

“It would be one of those things that I would be open to if there is sufficient evidence to indicate that it needs to be revisited and more appropriate standards and requirements put in place,” Deal said. He said he would want to make sure the law enforcement community was involved in any discussion talks on the issue.

Deal also said the issue might be something he refers to his Criminal Justice Reform Council for review. He cautioned that he first wants to hear the results of an investigation into the May 28 police raid in which 19-month-old Bounkham Phone­savanh was severely injured by a flash grenade that landed in his playpen at home in Cornelia. The Geor­gia Bureau of Inves­ti­gation is looking into the case, and the boy’s family has asked for a federal inquiry.

“Sometimes legislative bodies react too quickly without looking at the broader consequences of what legislative action might be,” Deal said. “But on the same token, if the standards and the requirements are not appropriate, then they should be adjusted accordingly.”

Deal’s Democratic challenger, state Sen. Jason Car­­ter of Atlanta, said in a statement that the dangers of “no-knock” warrants have been known and reiterated his support for limiting them.

“This incident in Cornelia is a heartbreaking example of what can happen, and we need to do everything we can to prevent anything like it from happening again,” Carter said.

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Riverman1 06/06/14 - 06:06 am
Doing Away With No Knock Is No Brainer

Doing away with no knocks seems wise. When I was in the Army there was an unwritten rule if NCO's grabbed or shouted at a soldier sleeping they had better get out of the way because a sleeping person was not responsible for his immediate reaction. Can you imagine someone sleeping and suddenly his door is battered down with people screaming or a concussion grenade going off as happened? This person's first reaction could be to grab his pistol and start shooting to save himself and his family.

AFjoe 06/06/14 - 07:25 am
Who decides

Who makes the decision if there will be a "no knock" entrance. Three in the morning when all is quite. kids sleeping, no lights on may be an indicator that the need to storm the place is not necessary. My guess is once the decision is made the cops don't give a damn what the circumstances are. You know they get a thrill throwing their weight around, bellowing "everybody down".

dichotomy 06/06/14 - 10:17 am
I normally support law

I normally support law enforcement in most all things....when they are doing their showing up when you call them....which don't always happen here locally.

But No Knock warrants need to be severely limited and highly scrutinized. Law enforcement tells us the chance of getting the wrong house are small but there has been way too many instances of them breaking into the wrong house and killing and/or injuring innocent people, terrorizing innocent men, women, and children, and walking away and saying "oops".

Couple all of that with the fact that some criminals have adopted the same tactics of kicking in people's doors and hollering "police" or "sheriff's department" and proceeding to rob, rape, injure, or murder people who thought these people were cops, and the whole No Knock thing is a disaster waiting to happen for the average law abiding citizens who can be victimized by law enforcement at any time.

I assure you that no matter what ANYONE hollers, if they kick down my door in the middle of the night I am going to be trying to kill some of them since, living in South Richmond County, I sleep with a .40 caliber on my nightstand and a 12 gauge pump leaning up in the corner. The victims of a No Knock warrant have NO WAY of actually knowing that whoever is kicking down their door is really a cop or not.

I understand law enforcement's desire to have No Knock as a tool. I just wish they applied that same desire and some effort into making sure they GET THE RIGHT RESIDENCE when they do one.

Just remember folks, a dispute with a neighbor and an anonymous "tip" is all it takes to get your name on the list to get YOUR door kicked down in the middle of the night. With the SWAT mentality that is so pervasive in our law enforcement agencies nowadays it doesn't take much more than that for them to come validate their training.

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