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“No-Knock” Warrants and Other Law Enforcement Identification Considerations

CRS Sidebar via LC – “No-Knock”Warrants and Other Law Enforcement Identification Considerations, June 23, 2020: “In the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody, some Members of Congress have expressed interest in passing legislation that would alter the policing practices of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers. One set of practices addressed in recently introduced reform legislation concerns law enforcement identification. The issue has arisen in at least two recent contexts. First, reports of federal law enforcement officers responding to protest activity without displaying badges or other identifying information have prompted questions about whether police may forego such identification when acting in an official capacity in public. Second, questions have arisen as to when officers are required to identify themselves before entering a home when executing a search warrant. An issue of particular focus in this context has been so-called “no-knock”warrants—that is, warrants that permit law enforcement officers to enter a home without the need to identify their authority and purpose beforehand. In one case that has received renewed attention, a Louisville woman named Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her home by police during execution of such a warrant. Given congressional interest and legislation that has recently been introduced on both fronts, this Legal Sidebar provides an overview of law enforcement identification issues in the context of (1) public identification and (2) identification prior to execution of a warrant. This Sidebar additionally considers how several bills in the 116th Congress could alter practices on both fronts.”

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