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Civil rights attorney Ben Crump wants review of no-knock warrants issued by Jefferson County judges

Ben Crump and Taylor's family during press conference
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Ben Crump speaking in Louisville in 2020.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented Breonna Taylor’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, said judges should have questioned why Black people were disproportionately targeted in no-knock search warrants before issuing them.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented Breonna Taylor’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, said judges should have questioned why Black people were disproportionately targeted in no-knock search warrants before issuing them.

He delivered the Breonna Taylor lecture on Structural Inequality at the University of Louisville on Thursday and said, in Louisville, no-knock warrants were used more against Black people.

He called for a review into previous no-knock warrants issued by judges, and said that by doing so, they “could hopefully save another Black child.”

“If one of those judges would’ve said, ‘I'm not signing any more warrants against Black people until you all can come and explain to me why so many Black people are getting their doors kicked in,’ then Breonna would be with us,” Crump said.

Louisville banned no-knock warrants months after police shot and killed 26-year-old Taylor in her home in 2020.

The Department of Justice investigation into the Louisville Metro Police Department’s practices released last month said the LMPD “unlawfully executes search warrants without knocking and announcing.”

Crump was part of a team of lawyers who negotiated Louisville's largest settlement ever in response to police misconduct: a $12 million deal that included more than a dozen police reforms.

In his lecture, Crump called for transparency from the city to earn back trust with residents after years of protests and investigations in the wake of Taylor’s shooting.

“It’s about transparency, plus accountability, equals justice, that leads us to trust,” Crump said.

Crump said rooting out over-policing of Black people in cities begins with nipping systemic injustice in the bud, and that meant giving younger generations the education they need to challenge those injustices.

“We have to make sure that our children are well armed to protest the prison industrial complex, we have to make sure that our children are well armed to protest voter suppression, denial of access to health care, environmental racism…what good is education and influence if I don’t use it where it matters the most?” he said.

Crump has also worked with families of other Black Americans killed in high-profile police shootings, including George Floyd, Michael Brown and Tyre Nichols.

Divya is LPM's Race & Equity Reporter. Email Divya at dkarthikeyan@lpm.org.