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Activists Speak Out On 'Knock And Announce' Polices In Texas

Updated: Tuesday, February 18 2014, 06:31 PM CST

A case in Burleson County has sparked debate over "knock and announce" policies in Texas.

In December, Henry Magee shot and killed Sgt. Adam Sowders.

Sowders was serving a search warrant at Magees home. But Magee says he acted in self-defense, thinking Sgt. Sowder was a burglar.

Now, a local civil rights group says policies need to be put in place before it happens again.

Jim Harrington, the director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, says, "Only 30 percent of jurisdictions that we surveyed had a written no-knock policy, the point of the policy is it gives guidance to the officer, when can you do this and when can you not."

Which is why the Texas Civil Rights Project released a report that claims not enough agencies in Texas have policies in place to prevent situations like the one in Burleson County from happening again.

"So three out of four Texans are in jurisdictions that have no written no-knock policies and that's dangerous. Dangerous both for the officer and dangerous for the citizen," says Harrington

According to the report, knock and announce rules reduce the risk of violence between occupants and officers.

One local jurisdiction sited as not having this type of policy is the Travis County Sheriff's Office.

But Roger Wade, a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office, says they do follow standard operating procedure.

"We have procedures in place when we do that. You will know if it's law enforcement that is coming through your door," he says.

By Lydia Pantazes

Activists Speak Out On 'Knock And Announce' Polices In Texas


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