WAAY31 I-TEAM: No-knock warrants used only in extreme circumstances in Alabama

It is rare in Alabama for police officers to do search warrants at night.

Posted: Sep 24, 2020 4:42 PM
Updated: May 4, 2021 11:14 AM

The WAAY 31 I-TEAM wanted to know if police in North Alabama use no-knock warrants.

Turns out, they can’t. They’re illegal, but there is one exception to the rule and that's if somone in a home is in immediate danger like being held hostage, according to a local district attorney.

"You have to have a particularized finding that it's dangerous to knock and announce because the flip side of that is to not knock and announce then they think they are getting broken into and shooting at a law enforcement officer," said Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly.

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In the case of Breonna Taylor, police in Louisville originally received a no knock warrant. But that changed and officers say they did knock and announce themselves. Many people who heard everything unfold in March disagree. Connolly said that's why body cameras are so important.

"It happens here where our police officers say we knocked and announced and the person in the house says they didn't knock and announce. That's why we like body cameras," said Connolly.

Connolly said here in Alabama and in Lauderdale County police only do search warrants during the day unless it's an absolute emergency.

"There has to be a special circumstance the judge has to approve a nighttime search warrant," said Connolly.

WAAY 31 then asked him what those special circumstances are. He said, "A child. Some grave emergency that a child is missing and we think they are in the house and those kinds of things that are just on fire emergencies."

Connolly said most of the search warrants they go on are drug related. Various law enforcement officers told WAAY 31 kids factor into this too. Officers want to do search warrants while children are away from a home like at school.

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