Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a police reform bill that outlaws no-knock warrants, a law that developed as a result of police violence and resulting deaths..
With the passage of the legislation on Wednesday (October 28), Virginia becomes the third state in the country behind Oregon and Florida to ban forcible-entry raids. The move comes in the wake of the March shooting death of Breonna Taylor, an Louisville, Ky., EMT killed during a no-knock raid in March. Her case has raised awareness around the controversial policing procedure nationwide.
“These reforms also reduce militarization of police equipment, standardize law enforcement training requirements and strengthens the process to decertify officers, when needed,” Northam said, according to CNN.
He added: “I want to sincerely thank our legislators and all advocates who have worked so hard to reform our criminal justice laws so we can keep Virginia safer and rebuild trust between our law enforcement and the communities that they serve.”
Forced entry raids became common during the 1980s when the “war on drugs” was in its prime. The raids, especially when they’re carried out at night, are dangerous to civilians and law enforcement alike, and are disproportionately carried out against people of color, according to experts.
A 2014 American Civil Liberties Union report on police militarization found that 42 percent of SWAT team raids targeted Black people and 12 percent Hispanic.
Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, has since spoken out since the 26-year-old’s death and says no one replied to his calling out of “Who is it?” He believed intruders had broken down the door and he opened fire out of fear.