LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KATV) - The vast majority of drug-related warrants served by Little Rock police over the past 10 years have been considered “no-knock” warrants, according to a report from Little Rock television station KATV.
The city’s new mayor has said he plans to change the department’s use of the warrants, as some questions about the practice and the 4th Amendment have emerged.
KATV found through a Freedom of Information Act that, with few exceptions, every drug-related warrant was a no-knock warrant.
From 2009 to 2019, the Narcotics Unit requested 1,594 warrants. Of that amount, only 80 were knock and announce warrants, which is the Constitutional standard.
Moreover, the language that the Supreme Court requires to be individualized was insteady copy-and-paste.
In the same language and also in the same paragraphs, nearly every warrant and affidavit said why police shouldn’t have to knock and announce.
KATV reports that those paragraphs included nothing about the specific suspect’s ability to destroy evidence or tendency towards violence.
The report noted that 23 of the 215 affidavits on a no-knock warrant mentions the suspect’s access to a gun, but a warrant was issued every time.
Other mistakes happened as well.
KATV found 37 occasions where the police affidavit said the warrant would be executed between the hours of 6 or 8 am and 8 p.m.
However, the actual warrant, which is also written by the officer and signed by the judge, allows the officers to conduct night time raids.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. told KATV that while he always worries and prays for the safety of officers on a daily basis, he is looking at a city ordinance and a change in policy on the issue.
“I think the men and women of the LRPD will understand the rationale for this, and if not, that is something we have to keep having that relationship building with them to help them understand how important this is to the overall community,” Scott said.