AUSTIN, Texas — Following the nationwide protests on police brutality, Texas lawmakers are pushing to pass House Bill 1272, a bill that would restrict magistrates from issuing no-knock warrants and limit them to violent offenses.
Marvin Guy’s siblings insist he acted in self-defense when he shot at Killeen police officers who raided his home before dawn. Officers attempted to serve a no-knock warrant. Det. Charles Dinwiddie, an 18-year-veteran of the force, succumbed to his wounds.
“My heart goes out to the police officer who lost his life, but on the other side of that token, you know, I'm missing a brother for seven years," Guy's brother, Garet Galloway, told Capital Tonight.
Guy was charged with capital murder in 2014 and has been awaiting trial ever since. Galloway believes too much can go wrong with such legal authorizations.
"It's dangerous on all ends for the officers, it's dangerous for the constituents. What if you have the wrong address? [You know] What if you got innocent kids in the house," Galloway said.
House Bill 1272 is also known as, "Breonna's Law," which remembers Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old woman who was shot and killed by Louisville Police during a no-knock raid.
Galloway joined the bill's author State Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Dallas, and other state legislators in a news conference Monday at the Texas Capitol.
"Breonna Taylor may have been the name that we shouted over the summer, but we have so many Texans that have lost their lives due to no-knock warrants," Crockett said.
The bill would also require officers to be in uniform and clearly identifiable, and to activate body cameras before executing the warrant. It would also ban overnight raids, by restricting them to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
"It's hard to say that you have the right to stand your ground and the right to protect your castle, unless it's a law enforcement officer that you don't know what's coming into your home. It completely contradicts itself," Crockett said.
John Wilkerson, a legislative liaison with Texas Municipal Police Association, opposes the bill and said the organization has been having conversations with legislators.
“There's more steps that are involved in the rhetoric that's being spewed of law enforcement just crashing through somebody's door," he said.
Wilkerson argues while law enforcement largely announces themselves prior to entry, the element of surprise is a critical tool, he believes, needs to remain.
“If the suspect knows that law enforcement is coming, (if) they intend to do harm to law enforcement, they're going to prepare. They're going to arm you know themselves, and they're going to put themselves in a tactical advantage to cause harm,” Wilkerson said.
In a letter to the community last October, Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble said, “In order to do our jobs efficiently and as safe as possible for everyone, we may sometimes have to conduct a no-knock search warrant.”
But in that same letter, he announced some changes after a committee of law enforcement officers and citizens reviewed the department's policies.
In order to execute a no-knock warrant, Killeen Police must have the chief's approval. They also will no longer be serving such warrants in cases only related to narcotics, but would continue to do so for warrants on "murder suspects, certain hostage situations, violent and dangerous drug offenders."
But Galloway would like to see state lawmakers prohibit no-knock warrants altogether.
"They need to evaluate in their heart, is this worth losing a life,” Galloway said.
The bill does have the backing of at least one hardline conservative, Rep. Jeff Cason, R-Bedford, who is a co-author. The House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence passed the bill and supporters are waiting for it to taken up on the House floor.
Click the video link above to learn more about police reform efforts in Texas, including interviews with Dr. Howard Henderson, the Founding Director of the Center for Justice Research at Texas Southern University and Wilvin Carter, a Houston-based criminal defense attorney who speaks about the next steps in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.