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No-knock warrants banned in Buncombe County, according to new policy

The Buncombe County Courthouse in Asheville, N.C. (John Koetsier/Flickr)
John Koetsier/Flickr
The Buncombe County Courthouse in Asheville, N.C.

Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller has released a new policy that bans the use of no-knock warrants.

“This ban on no-knock warrants is both an officer safety and public safety measure. Entering a residence or business without giving notification is a high-risk endeavor for our personnel and all involved, that level of risk is not warranted,” said Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller in a press release.

Miller, a Democrat, is currently running for re-election. The primary election will be held on May 17th.

The role of no-knock warrants became a part of the national law enforcement reform conversation in 2020 after the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. The 26-year-old Black woman was killed during a police raid at her home while she was sleeping. Kentucky limited the use of the warrants in 2021.

The Buncombe County policy states that deputies must knock and “give appropriate notice of their identity and purpose” then if they believe that entry is being denied force may be used.

Here’s the full text of that section: “Before entering, deputies must knock and give appropriate notice of their identity and purpose to the person in apparent control of the premises to be entered. After announcing their identity and purpose, and if the deputies believe that admittance is being denied or unreasonably delayed, the force necessary to complete the entry may be used.”

The policy also states that BCSO will not seek or serve ‘No-Knock’ warrants on page 13. The full policy is below.

Miller was a part of the NC Sheriff’s Association taskforce which issued law enforcement reform recommendations in 2020. The recommendations included addition of an officer’s duty to intervene and report if they see another officer using excessive force. Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office implemented the policy in late August 2020.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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