Sunday, April 25, 2021

Tennessee Senate Passes Bill to Prohibit “No-Knock” raids, ban choke-holds and other reforms.

by Rod Williams - Last  Monday, the Tennessee Senate passed SB1380, a bill that would prohibit “no-knock” warrants, and in the House the bill has advanced and is on the Criminal Justice Committee calendar for April 26th. The full Senate voted in favor, 33-0.

I am pleased with this development.  The House should pass the bill and the governor should sign it.  With the police shooting and BLM riots, it seems most people have retreated to their respective corners and are either waving the "defund the police," banner or the "support the police" banner.  If I had to choose, I would be in the "support the police" camp but we don't have to fall in line with one camp or the other. There are reasonable reforms that need to be enacted. Reasonable people should be willing to admit that policing can be improved and not afraid to pass legislation that addresses legitimate concerns.  

If I was sitting at home and someone knocked down my door and ran in screaming, even if they were screaming "police," I would shoot to kill if I had the opportunity.  It seems that in reaction to the demands of the left, that many on the right have become advocates of police state tactics and defenders of any actions taken by the police.   Remember Ruby Ridge and Waco?  A few years ago conservatives were skeptical of police power and were not afraid to question police actions.  Now, it seems the default position of many conservatives is to assume the police are always right and to support a more powerful and intrusive police presence and to deny there is any need for reform.  

SB1380 would make several reforms in addition to banning "no-knock" warrants.  Among the other things in the bill, the proposed law would also ban choke-holds, require police to develop de-escalation policies and training, protect police who file complaints against other officers or who cooperate with investigations of other police or who intervene to stop a fellow officer from using excessive force.   The new law also requires police to develop new policies that curtail incidents or police shooting from or at moving cars or bicycles. 

I am proud of our Republican dominated Senate for taking this action.  There are more that should be done.  Qualified immunity should be examined and civil asset forfeiture should be banned.  Supporting the police should not blind one to the need for reform.  Advocating for law and order is not the same as supporting policies that curtail civil liberties and support for police-state policies.  

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