Louisville, Kentucky, police with a “no-knock” search warrant broke down Breonna Taylor’s door after midnight on March 13, 2020, and started shooting. Six bullets struck the 26-year-old Black woman, killing her.
There were no Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure for Breonna Taylor. The police didn’t even search the home of the emergency room technician who helped save lives.
The Fourth Amendment didn’t apply to Alberta Spruill either. The 57-year-old city worker, a member of the Convent Avenue Baptist Church and AFSCME Local 1549, was looking forward to retirement. She liked to walk around her Harlem neighborhood and give candy to children.
Her life meant nothing to the dozen New York City police officers who had a no-knock warrant. At 6:10 am on May 16, 2003, they threw a flash grenade into Spruill’s apartment that stunned her. Two hours later she died of a heart attack.
On Nov. 21, 2006, Atlanta police with a no-knock warrant broke down the door of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnson. The cops fired 39 shots, killing the Black senior. Johnson was handcuffed as she lay dying.
Detroit police with a no-knock warrant invaded the home of 7-year-old Aiyana Jones on May 16, 2010. The Black girl was killed by a bullet fired by cop Joseph Weekly using a MP5 submachine gun.
An A&E network crew accompanied the cops, filming for the network’s police propaganda show, “The First 48.” Killer cop Weekly was a frequent star on cop shows. He was later cleared of all charges in the death of Aiyana Jones.
Jose Guerena was shot 22 times on May 5, 2011―Cinco de Mayo―by a SWAT team with a no-knock warrant in Tucson, Arizona. The 26-year-old father of two children and Marine Corps veteran was killed.
He was sleeping at home after working a 12-hour graveyard shift at ASARCO’s Mission copper mine. Cops prevented medics from aiding Guerena for an hour.
Rockefeller’s police state laws
All these atrocities were war crimes in the war against Black, Latinx and all oppressed people. The killing of Breonna Taylor helped inspire 26 million people to take to the streets to declare “Black Lives Matter!”
No-knock raids are like the bloody U.S. “search and destroy” missions during the Vietnam War. Or the massacre of Lakota people at Wounded Knee.
There’s never been a no-knock raid against the banksters who stole over 7.8 million homes from families through foreclosure proceedings.
It was New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller who first demanded no-knock raids, which had been illegal. Rockefeller signed these laws that also authorized “stop and frisk” by police on March 3, 1964. Similar laws spread across the U.S.
Rockefeller’s family is Big Oil. It controls ExxonMobil and Chevron. Nelson’s brother David was head of the Chase Manhattan Bank, now JPMorgan Chase, with $3.68 trillion in assets.
Fifty years before Nelson Rockefeller signed the no-knock bills, his family had striking coal miners and their families in Ludlow, Colorado., killed with machine guns on April 20, 1914. Seven years after no-knock, Gov. Rockefeller ordered the Attica prison inmates slaughtered on Sept. 13, 1971.
There was immediate resistance to Rockefeller’s police state legislation. Hundreds of people came to a Harlem rally on March 7, 1964, to protest. Among the speakers was Jesse Gray, who led a rent strike in Harlem.
Because of the Black Lives Matter movement, 28 states and 20 cities have passed restrictions on no-knock raids since the murder of Breonna Taylor. They should be abolished altogether.