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Utah Bill Seeking To Reign In No-knock Warrants Stalls In Legislative Committee

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A Utah legislative committee voted to hold a bill that would put restrictions on when police can use no-knock warrants.

“No-knock” and “knock-and-announce” warrants came under scrutiny last year after police in Louisville shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her sleep.

Now, a new proposal by a Utah lawmaker would restrict when police can use them.

The bill would ban no-knock warrants unless there’s a serious threat against someone. After officers announce themselves, it would also require them to wait a “reasonable period of time sufficient” for someone to respond if they’re far from the door.

Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley, is sponsoring the bill. He said it stems from an experience his constituent had decades ago when police arrived at his house with a no-knock warrant.

“He thought that he was being robbed,” Hall said. “He grabbed a gun and shot at the people who came through the door. He was charged with attempted murder of a police officer and served 17 years in prison. To this day, he still contends that he did not know it was the police. He genuinely thought he was being robbed.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah and the Libertas Institute showed their support for the bill, arguing that those types of warrants are dangerous for police and the public.

But representatives from law enforcement agencies disagreed.

Nate Mutter, with the Utah Attorney General’s office, said the bill could negatively impact child exploitation investigations.

“Our office serves hundreds of child pornography warrants a year, and we are highly concerned that this gives people ample time to destroy that evidence,” Mutter said.”

The House Law Enforcement Committee voted to hold the bill. The chair promised they would debate it again later.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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