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11 December 2008

State Senator Says Restrict "No-Knock" Warrants

An Atlanta state Senator says Wednesday morning's raid of a Norcross home by the Gwinnett County Police provides yet another reason why a state law is needed to restrict the use of no-knock warrants.

According to a report by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, John Lewis and his girlfriend Heather James were held at gunpoint while Gwinnett County police officers searched their home for suspected methamphetamine distributor. It turns out that police had the wrong house and apologized to Lewis before going to another home to arrest Efrain Pedruza [Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Gwinnett police break down wrong door", December 10, 2008]

State Sen. Vincent Fort (D - Atlanta) reacted to the article detailing the mistaken raid of John Lewis' home saying the incident would be laughable if it weren't so serious.

"This is just the reason why we need a statewide law restricting no-knock warrants," Fort said.

Fort, who introduced a bill during the 2008 legislative session curtailing the use of no-knock warrants, said he planned on re-introducing the legislation when the General Assembly convenes in January.

"[The bill] is a good compromise that protects police departments and citizens," Fort said of his proposal.

During the 2008 legislative session, Fort's no-knock warrants bill passed the state Senate by a wide margin but stalled in the state House.