As with most bills, its intended purpose is not what the Georgia bill actually accomplishes. The bill was supposed to place restrictions on police no-knock raids. But what it actually does is legalize them, because technically, police no-knock raids are already illegal in Georgia. That of course doesn’t stop police from executing them however. 11Alive reported:
The Georgia Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would restrict no-knock warrants by police.
The hearing lasted two days and saw testimony from numerous witnesses both for and against the bill.
The newly-passed legislation allows police to enter a suspected criminal’s house unannounced but only with a judge’s warrant and probable cause.
Police reform has been a hot topic nationwide since the deaths, by police hands, of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. Those pursuing reform are passionate about ending no-knock warrants, which allow police to enter the home of suspected criminals unannounced.
Georgia now has legislation to that effect.
State Sen. Vincent Fort is one of several pushing bills that would restrict the use of those warrants. But the bills have critics who make this point: Georgia law currently does not technically allow these warrants at all. These bills, by restricting them, would actually make them legal.
“The current law already makes these kinds of raids illegal in Georgia,” says criminal defense attorney Catherine Bernard. “We all agree that’s what’s important, but this bill does the opposite of what it says it’s going to do.”
“If you believe the law says they’re illegal, litigate that,” Fort responded, suggesting such litigation would never hold up in court.
Fort’s bill, SB 45, is called “Bou Bou’s Law” after the Habersham County baby who was maimed last year when police used a flash-bang grenade to enter a suspected meth lab.
The police aren’t the only ones to criticize in these no-knock raid situations. Judges are the ones who grant them warrants to barge in to people’s homes unannounced in the middle of the night based on very shaky evidence.
In the case of Georgia man David Hooks, the “evidence” police had obtained was the hearsay from a meth addict who had stolen the Hooks’ SUV a couple days prior to the Hooks’ house being raided by police. The car thief meth addict told police that the Hooks had meth in their house. That’s all the police needed to treat the Hooks like drug lords. And no, their no-knock raid and subsequent 44-hour house search turned up zero evidence of drugs.
But they did shoot and kill Mr. Hooks during the raid. Apparently, Mr. Hooks heard someone breaking in his house in the middle of the night, and he grabbed his gun and went to investigate, thinking that the car thief is back. When the police saw him with a gun, they riddled his body with lead.
There wouldn’t need to be a bill that restricts these atrocities from happening if our law enforcement officials and judges would follow the Constitution. The 4th Amendment clearly prohibits these actions already.