“No-knock actions are a recipe for an armed confrontation that is going to result in serious physical injury or loss of life.” Those are the words of Mark Silverstein, the legal director of Colorado’s American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Earlier this month, the Aurora city council banned no-knock warrants to reduce the chance of unnecessary tragedies happening in their town. These warrants give officers an element of surprise, which police say helps them catch criminals off guard. However, opponents say they put both civilian and police lives at risk. Remember, Colorado has a Make My Day Law. It allows homeowners to shoot to kill at an intruder they believe is entering their home to commit a criminal act and cause them physical harm.
The ban on no-knock actions comes on top of the statewide police reforms due to take effect in 2023. These are some of the upcoming changes:
- Requiring police officers to wear body cameras in most circumstances.
- Forbidding the use of chokeholds.
- Requiring officers to intervene and report if they see a colleague using unlawful physical force.
- Requiring officers to give more warnings and allow people more time to disperse before using tear gas or pepper spray.
- Banning police from aiming plastic or rubber bullets at the back, head or pelvis, or randomly firing them into a crowd.
These are all positive steps, yet 2023 is still a few years away. Hence, it is almost inevitable that some Colorado citizens will continue to suffer at the police’s hands over the coming years. If you suffer from police misconduct or brutality, seek legal help. While the police have the power to enforce the law, they must also abide by it.