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Local council vote to ban no-knock warrants won’t end the debate over the practice

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 7:12 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX)- The 6-1 vote Tuesday evening by the Killeen City Council to ban police from using no-knock warrants may have settled the issue for the time being, but it apparently won’t end the contentious debate over the practice, which opponents say puts suspects and officers at unnecessary risk, but which law enforcement advocates say is a sometimes-necessary tool.

“No peace officer employed by the City of Killeen, including the Chief of Police as provided in section 22-26, may request, execute or participate in the execution of any search warrant that does not require the officer to knock and announce his or her presence prior to execution.”

Killeen City ordinance

Jumeeka Reed, whose brother James Scott Reed was killed during a no-knock raid in 2019, has led efforts to ban the practice for two years.

“This is for the next person,” she said.

“This doesn’t feel like no type of justice for me or my family. It’s not going to bring my brother back and it’s not going to help us with a case.”

Garret Galloway also has a personal interest in the no-knock raid issue.

His brother, Marvin Guy, has been in jail for seven years awaiting trial.

He is accused of shooting and killing Killeen police Detective Chuck Dinwiddie in 2014 during a no-knock raid at his home.

Although the ban on no-knock raids is not retroactive, his brother says he hopes the policy change will have a positive impact on the outcome of the case.

“I believe he’s optimistic that this will help his case. To what extent, I don’t know, but it helps get him free one day,” Galloway said.

Galloways says the City of Killeen should focus on retroactive justice by exonerating his brother and providing financial compensation to the families of officers hurt and killed during no-knock raids.

Guy is represented by Innocence Project of Texas Executive Director Mike Ware and Justin A. Moore, a criminal defense attorney from Dallas.

Law enforcement associations including the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA), however, disagree with the ban and say the Killeen City Council was wrong in voting to bar police from using no-knock warrants.

“It takes a tool away and it’s not an over-used tool,” said John Wilkerson, a legislative liaison for TMPA.

“When people hear no-knock warrants, they think the police are just bashing in our door and just running into our house. The reality is we understand that they are dangerous situations and when we are forced to use that tool out of our tool kit, we want to make sure everyone in that house knows it’s the police coming through your door. Not the competing drug dealer not the competing gang. It’s the police,” he said.

Wilkerson also says he believes the decision by city council is a result of city leaders knuckling under to public pressure to be anti-police.

The Killeen ordinance applies only to Killeen police officers.

The Bell County Sheriff’s Department as well as state and federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI can still conduct no-knock raids in Killeen.

Reed says she doesn’t oppose that.

“It’s no problem to me because like I said if the FBI, U.S. Marshals and Texas Rangers are here it’s going to be some type of sex trafficking going on, it’s going to be some kind of cartel, but it’s not going to be for somebody who sells drugs in a $400 a month apartment with $1,200 in your pocket.

“You ain’t nobody to be coming after like that,” Reed said.

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