Seelbach drafting ‘No-knock’ ordinance over FOP president’s objections

Cincinnati City Councilman proposes banning no-knock warrants

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati City Council could soon take up a ‘no-knock’ ordinance prohibiting the tactic used by Louisville police in the death of Breonna Taylor.

Taylor was shot and killed in her apartment by officers serving a no-knock warrant during what police described as a drug investigation in March.

Her name has been mentioned in the same breath as George Floyd by protesters across the nation as they continue to call out police brutality and march for racial justice.

On Friday, Cincinnati City Councilperson Chris Seelbach tweeted his intent to put an ordinance banning no-knock warrants before council.

He explained the ordinance is in response to protests in Cincinnati calling for criminal justice reform.

“We’ve been getting probably 10,000 emails in the last week or so demanding that we enact change,” Seelbach told FOX19 NOW.

The proposal is an effort to prevent a similar situation as what happened to Taylor.

“If you’re this innocent person and you hear people barging into your house and running toward your window, or your bedroom, your instinct is to defend yourself,” Seelbach argued.

Fraternal Order of Police President Sgt. Dan Hils said the department doesn’t use no-knock warrants frequently.

“In Cincinnati we probably do it once a year, or less, on average," Hils said. “It’s pretty rare.”

They’re used under exceptional circumstances, Hils explained.

“Most cases it would be intelligence that the police department has gathered that makes us believe that we would be instantly fired upon if we knocked on a door,” he told FOX19 NOW.

Hils called out Councilperson Seelbach for even bringing up the idea.

“I think it’s probably more political grandstanding," he explained. “I don’t think he has the first bit of knowledge about when and why a police department uses those.”

Seelbach countered: “I’m not going to respond to Dan Hils. He’s as extreme as they come, and I don’t think his opinion warrants a response."

Seelbach said he also plans on crafting a motion to ban the use of tear gas and pepper spray in the city.

Hils called the proposed ban on tear gas and pepper spray “flat out stupid.”

Previously Thursday, the Louisville Metro Council unanimously passed a measure banning the use of no-knock warrants by police. The measure is called Breonna’s Law.

In addition to banning no-knock warrants, Bronna’s Law also requires officers wait a minimum of 15 seconds after knocking and announcing their presence when serving a warrant.

Officers must wear body cameras during the execution of a warrant, turning them on five minutes before and off at least five minutes after the completion of serving the warrant. All of the data from the body camera footage must be saved for five years following the execution of the warrant.

George Floyd died by asphyxiation as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck in May. Addressing Cincinnati police officers days later, Police Chief Eliot Isaac called such choke holds inappropriate and unnecessary.

According to the Enquirer, the city’s landmark 2002 Collaborative Agreement banned restraining techniques like choke holds except in situations where an officer’s life is in danger.

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