Relating to a prohibition on the issuance of a warrant authorizing the use of a no-knock entry

by a peace officer:

Since 2012, thirteen Killeen police officers have been injured and two murdered in no-knock
raids. In February 2015, a no-knock raid led to the shooting of three officers in Corpus
Christi. In January 2019, two Houstonians and their dog lost their lives to a poorly executed
no-knock raid. Just one month later, a no-knock raid led to the murder of Killeen resident
James Scott Reed. For years, no-knock raids have endangered the lives of our communities
and law enforcement.

HB 1272, or “Breonna’s Bill,” would ban judges and magistrates from issuing no-knock
warrants, which allow police officers to enter homes without resident permission, verbal
announcement of entry, or even indicative clothing. These raids, done to capitalize on the
element of surprise, are usually carried out late at night or early in the morning, which further
contributes to the chaos and exacerbates the vulnerability of both occupants and officers.

HB 1272 is a vital step in protecting Texans’ law enforcement, communities, and
constitutional rights. These raids, which repeatedly produce evidence only sufficient for
misdemeanor charges, are inefficient, ineffective, and dangerous.

Finally, the frequent and frivolous use of no-knock raids threatens Texans’ Fourth
Amendment rights. While the Constitution provides for the use of “unreasonable search and
seizures... upon probable cause”, Texas’ lenience in defining probable cause has exploited
Constitutional protections and Texans’ rights. Should Texas judges and magistrates have
been less lenient in their acceptance of probable cause, perhaps Rhogena Nicholas and
Dennis Tuttle would still be alive today, rather than murdered on the basis of an informant
who had never even been to their home.

Our communities and our officers deserve better. With Breonna’s Bill, Texas will do just
that.

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