MADISON — The ACLU of Wisconsin today denounced consideration of a proposal in the Wisconsin State Assembly that would prevent local governments from restricting the use of no-knock warrants by law enforcement.

Assembly Bill 834 would strip local jurisdictions of their authority to restrain an officer’s ability to carry out a no-knock warrant – a tactic that allows law enforcement to enter an individual’s residence without first announcing their presence. 

Between 2010 and 2016, 81 civilians and 13 law enforcement officers died during no-knock and quick-knock raids across the country.

“For the Wisconsin State Legislature – just weeks after police in Minnesota fatally shot 22-year-old Amir Locke within 10 seconds of unexpectedly raiding his home – to take up legislation prohibiting local jurisdictions from regulating no-knock warrants shows a callous disregard for the senseless casualties that unannounced searches have caused,” said Abby Kanyer, community engagement manager of the ACLU of Wisconsin. 

Following the nationwide outcry over the unjust killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman shot by police who entered her apartment during an unannounced raid, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission moved to ban Milwaukee police from executing no-knock warrants.  

“No-knock raids are a relic of the racist War on Drugs, and conducting them puts both the safety of the public and the police at unnecessary risk. We believe no-knock tactics should be done away with altogether, let alone not shielded from any attempt at reform. As Black History Month comes to a close, we hope state leaders can take a moment to reflect on the grim history of no-knock warrants and how they have been used in a way that actively harms Black communities across this country,” said Melinda Brennan, executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin.

An ACLU report found that in 35% of the reported drug raids conducted via no-knock warrants, only small amounts of drugs were located; in 36% of the raids, law enforcement found nothing. 

Additionally, no-knock warrants disproportionately impact poor communities of color. Between 2011 and 2012, 39% of raids affected Black people, 11% affected Hispanics, 20% white Americans, and 30% were unknown because of insufficient police data.