NYPD defends controversial no-knock warrants, calling them a tool to keep NY safe

Northeast

NEW YORK (WPIX) — A year after the no-knock warrant became a part of a rallying cry to dismantle and reimagine local police departments with the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, the New York Police Department pushed back on calls to ban it.

Earlier this year, the NYPD executed a no-knock warrant at a Jamaica, Queens woman’s home — but they had the wrong door, the woman said.

Security camera video showed officers use a battering ram to bash in the door of Tijuana Brown’s home. The NYPD was at the home looking for drugs. Brown said they had the wrong house.

“When they came into my home, they said it was an informant that told them drugs were being sold from my home — narcotics were being sold from my home,” she said. “Informants are trying to get themselves out of hot water so information is not always correct.”

Brown said police terrorized her children and damaged her property, and without cause. However, police tell a different story.

Officers said when they entered the home, they were looking for Brown’s nephew. They say he sold drugs at the home.

The search warrant was legitimate, and went through police, a prosecutor and a judge.

NewsNation affiliate WPIX spoke with Brown’s nephew; he said he was on parole but denied selling drugs at the home.

“It was the wrong guy,” he said. “If police really did their job, what they signed up for, then they’d get better results.”

The department said this is their job. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea defended the use of raids and no-knock warrants, saying mistakes are rare.

“The police department needs tools to keep New Yorkers safe. I think this is one of many valuable tools,” he said. “We take this extremely seriously…we don’t go into this willy nilly.”

In 2020, police conducted 1,815 search warrants around the city; 1,100 were no-knock, sources said.

No-knock warrants and raids have come under scrutiny in the wake of the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Louisville emergency medical technician studying to become a nurse. Taylor was shot multiple times in March 2020 after being roused from sleep by police. No drugs were found, and the warrant was later found to be flawed. In New York City, several families claimed police had the wrong home when officers came in unannounced.

In Brown’s case, a small amount of marijuana was found — but all charges were dropped. 

“Because people’s lives are in jeopardy I would say please [to police] do your due diligence,” Brown said.

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