The Salisbury Police Department (SPD) has read the statement provided by the Salisbury-Rowan Chapter of the NAACP regarding the death of Ferguson Laurent Jr. We hear their concerns.
There are certain issues the NAACP has noted that we cannot address at this time due to the on-going investigation by the State Bureau of Investigations. However, there are some questions that we can address:
First, no knock warrants are routinely used in law enforcement when officers perceive that the threat of violence against police officers serving a warrant is elevated. The SPD took their evidence to a superior court judge who agreed with the detectives’ assessment and signed the no knock warrant.
According to the State Code 15A-251: Entry by Force. An officer may break and enter any premises or vehicle when necessary to the execution of the warrant if: (1) (2)
The officer has previously announced his identity and purpose as required by G.S. 15A-249 and reasonably believes either that admittance is being denied or unreasonably delayed or that the premises or vehicle is unoccupied; or
The officer has probable cause to believe that the giving of notice would endanger the life or safety of any person. (1973, c. 1286, s. 1.)
The evidence presented to the judge met all of this criteria that giving notice would endanger the officers involved in serving the warrant.
Second, the SPD also stands by the tactics used to serve the warrant. The incident occurred after school children were in school and the neighborhood was fairly quiet. Again, the warrant was for the premises, not the person as has been suggested by the NAACP.
Lastly, we do want to address the no body cameras concern. After reviewing this incident, the SPD acknowledges that body cameras should have been worn in this tactical operation. In the future, our officers will wear body cameras during all operations.