Police Chief defends use of no-knock warrant

Changes are on the way for a local police department.

SALISBURY, N.C. -- The Salisbury NAACP, along with other community leaders held a press conference Tuesday, expressing concerns about how police handled the deadly officer-involved shooting that took place in Salisbury earlier this month and the use of the no-knock warrant. 

Ferguson Laurent Jr. was shot and killed by police at the home on East Lafayette Street 12 days ago. During this press conference, police hoped to clear up what they're saying, are some misconceptions.

After a 3-month investigation into narcotics, stolen property and weapons, police served a no-knock warrant on November 3, to Laurent's home in Salisbury. They say a shot was fired at them from someone as they entered, and their return fire resulted in the death of Laurent. Salisbury NAACP President Scott Teamer spoke about the incident at a press conference.

"Since you had 3 months time, could you have found a better way?" Teamer asked. "That could prevent the loss of life this dangerously."

But police chief Jerry Stokes is standing by the decision. 

"SPD took their evidence to a Superior Court judge who agreed with the detectives' assessment and signed that no-knock warrant," Stokes said.

The no-knock warrant means the officers don't give any warning that they're coming into the home. They use it when they believe people inside could be dangerous.

"The incident occurred after children were in school," Stokes said. "We purposely chose that time, and the neighborhood was relatively quiet."

But after reviewing this incident, Chief Stokes is implementing a change for his Special Response Team.

"Body cameras should've been worn in this tactical operation," Stokes said. "In the future, our officers will wear cameras in all operations."

The SBI is continuing their investigation into whether or not the shooting of Laurent was justified.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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