On Monday, Dec. 7, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed “Breonna’s Law” banning the use of no-knock warrants by police in the state. Northam said he signed the law to ensure “other families don’t suffer the same loss as [Taylor’s] family.”
“The Commonwealth of Virginia. Only the third state in the nation has taken a bold stand against no-knock warrants, an institutional mechanism that disproportionately terrorizes people of color. Virginia is getting it right,” said Dr. Janice Underwood, Virginia’s Chief Diversity Officer.
The state is the first to ban the practice since 26-year Breonna Taylor was killed in March when Louisville Metro Police Department officers carried out a no-knock warrant at her residence. Oregon and Florida previously passed similar laws.
Under the new law, which goes into effect in March, police cannot enter a home without announcing themselves, nor can they execute a warrant at night unless police present a reason to do so before a judge. The new law in Virginia is the first to bear the name of Taylor, who worked as an emergency medical technician.
“These are not anti-police measures,” said Northam, during a special session of the Virginia General Assembly. “These are pro-people laws. They’re about making our justice system fair and more equitable and they’re about rebuilding trust between our law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
Members of Taylor’s family were present for the signing of the bill.
“We are so honored for these gestures and these laws, but let us not forget that Breonna Taylor still needs justice,” said her aunt Bianca Austin.
Northam originally approved the law in October, but Monday’s signing was the first time Taylor’s family was there to witness it.
While no-knock warrants are rare in Virginia, the are disproportionately executed in communities of color, supporters of the bill have said.
“Let us not forget that Breonna Taylor still needs justice,” Austin added. “Justice for Breonna Taylor is making sure that these police officers are fired, arrested, charged and convicted.”
Taylor’s family also said they hope the signing of the bill in Virginia will prompt neighboring Kentucky to pass the law as well.