Bill puts limits on no-knock warrants

Law enforcement agencies would face new restrictions on using no-knock warrants under legislation to be introduced in the Georgia House on Thursday.

House Bill 56, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, would, in most cases, bar the use of no-knock warrants between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

It also requires law enforcement agencies to develop written policies and training for the use of the warrants, require a supervising officer to present when the warrant is executed, and requires police to swear that not using a no-knock warrant would pose “a significant and imminent danger to human life or imminent danger of evidence being destroyed.”

The bill comes seven months after at 19-month-old was severely wounded when Habersham County sheriff’s deputies executed a no-knock warrant at 3 a.m. A flash stun grenade was tossed into the playpen where the child was sleeping.

Police said an informant told them drugs were being sold from the house. No drugs or guns were found. A Habersham County grand jury declined to indict officers involved, although federal authorities are said to be investigating the case.

Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh’s nose was detached from his face after a Habersham SWAT team member lobbed the stun grenade into his playpen.

Tanner spent 18 years as a Dawson County sheriff’s deputy and has executed no-knock warrants himself. He has several Democrats and Republicans as co-sponsors.

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