The city’s civilian police investigative watchdog’s review of an errant raid by Chicago police on the Near West Side home of social worker Anjanette Young nearly two years ago found nearly 100 allegations of misconduct by more than a dozen officers, the agency announced Thursday.
The 16-month investigation by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability uncovered “significant deficiencies” in Chicago Police Department policy and training in how officers should acquire and execute search warrants, COPA said in a statement.
The 2019 raid at Young’s home was highlighted as part of an extensive WBBM-Ch. 2 series on faulty search warrants executed by CPD officers. Late last year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Law Department attempted in court to block Ch. 2 from airing body camera footage of Young’s home and police handcuffing her while she was naked.
The body camera footage was evidence in a lawsuit that Young filed against the Police Department for the raid.
The Law Department was unsuccessful in preventing the news station from airing the story, which ran in mid-December, sending shock waves through City Hall. It prompted police Superintendent David Brown, who was not leading CPD at the time of the raid, to revamp the Police Department’s search warrant protocols. It also led to Lightfoot signing an executive order designed to make it easier for people who file complaints against police with COPA to get copies of video and other materials in cases they’re involved in.
Separately, COPA had been investigating whether the officers involved in the Young raid violated CPD policy, and the agency announced the completion of that review on Thursday. The agency would only say in its statement that it has forwarded its findings to Brown for his review and would not disclose its findings.
But even though a report on its findings won’t be made public until after Brown completes his review, COPA made a rare disclosure Thursday that its investigation uncovered nearly 100 allegations of wrongdoing by officers who were part of the Young raid. Such disclosures usually aren’t revealed until after the police superintendent reviews the case. If Brown finds that the allegations are serious enough for the officers to face firing, they will then be forwarded to the Chicago Police Board for a hearing on their evidence.
The law firm representing Young, Saulter Law P.C., released a statement saying that while COPA’s written announcement has “some of the right platitudes and rhetoric,” many of the troubling facts seen on the video footage were “minimized and/or obscured” in COPA’s statement.
The statement also blasted the agency for taking so long to finish the investigation.
“Ms. Young is not encouraged by (COPA’s announcement) in any way, and instead she continues to demand accountability for every officer that was present and any officer that was in any way involved in the approval of this warrant and the execution of this outrageous raid her home,” the statement said.
A lawyer for most of the officers who were part of the raid said Young’s ordeal was “very tragic” and that the cops at her home “did everything they could to mitigate the situation that they found themselves in.”
“Efforts were made from the moment they were able to secure the home to protect her dignity,” said the lawyer, Tim Grace.
He also said the officers did not show up at her home randomly. They were tipped off by an informant about a gun being in the home, and that information was funneled through a judge. But the information proved erroneous, Grace said.
COPA said its investigation consisted of more than 30 interviews with “officers, civilians, a member of the judiciary, an assistant state’s attorney and the Cook County Sheriff’s Department,” along with a review of hundreds of pages of documents and hours of video.
The mayor initially said she had only learned of the raid, which occurred before she was in office, in December after Ch. 2 aired police body camera footage that showed Young repeatedly telling officers who barged into her home that they had the wrong