City Hall takes back request for sanctions after fallout from botched CPD raid
After city lawyers acknowledged their attempt to block CBS Channel 2 from airing footage of the raid “was a mistake,” faith leaders called on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to take action against the police officers involved in the botched raid. They also want the Civilian Office of Police Accountability to be dismantled.
City Hall lawyers made the rare move of apologetically withdrawing a request for sanctions against a lawyer in federal court Friday, following the public release of video of a botched police raid that roiled the city this week.
Later Friday outside Chicago police headquarters, faith leaders called for the dismantling of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability for its investigation into the botched raid. They also demanded that Mayor Lori Lightfoot step in and take action against the officers who led the raid and those who signed off on it.
Bishop Larry Trotter said he and other faith leaders spoke with the mayor during a virtual call Friday afternoon. The call, he said, was often tense and blunt and included the demand that Lightfoot take immediate action to fix the damage that has been done.
“The mayor has to move quickly on this,” Trotter said. “I told the mayor in the neighborhoods her integrity is in question because one moment she didn’t know and the next moment she did. She admitted in our conversation that they dropped the ball somewhere.”
“She pleaded and she apologized, and she said she was going to hold everybody accountable, but it’s got to move fast,” Trotter said. “There were no clear-cut actions. She did not say she was going to fire them, and I think that’s the issue.”
The mayor’s office didn’t respond to questions about the meeting, but late Friday, the city acknowledged it failed to produce six additional body cameras from the raid despite being directed to release all footage.
The mayor’s office said in a statement it was “inadvertent and not intentional” - and “completely unacceptable.” Lightfoot has directed that “all individuals responsible for this discovery failure be identified so they can be held accountable.”
On Monday, the city sought sanctions and also tried to persuade U.S. District Judge John Tharp to order CBS Channel 2 not to broadcast the video of the infamous raid on Anjanette Young’s home. But in a filing Friday, city lawyers acknowledged their move against CBS “was a mistake.”
They also withdrew their request for sanctions — which they insist was targeted only toward Young attorney Keenan Saulter — but wrote, “we take very seriously our responsibility as officers of the court and were very concerned that a violation of a court order had occurred.”
“Nonetheless, at Mayor [Lori] Lightfoot’s urging, we believe that it is appropriate to withdraw our motion for sanctions against Attorney Saulter,” they wrote. “The Mayor believes and we agree that we should give Attorney Saulter the benefit of the doubt that he did not appreciate that the court’s confidentiality order continued in full force and effect, even after the voluntary dismissal of the case in March 2020.”
The filing came from Corporation Counsel Mark Flessner, Deputy Corporation Counsel Caroline Fronczak and Assistant Corporation Counsel Nathan Shine.
Nearly a dozen officers went to Young’s home in February 2019 to execute a search warrant, though they were acting on bad information. Young could be heard on the video telling the officers — more than 40 times — they were in the wrong home.
“Why would they [police officers] even stand there and watch this woman naked and then handcuff her? It’s a horrible thing,” Trotter said. “Even going through the airport with TSA they don’t let men touch women and women touch men, but you got 12 white men looking at a woman in the nude.”
Young, a social worker, was getting ready for bed at the time and was naked when officers came inside. The encounter was captured on an officer’s body-worn camera and was broadcast by CBS earlier this week.
The city turned over the video footage to Young and her attorneys amid a federal lawsuit stemming from the raid, though a protective order had been in place to prevent it from being shared.
On Friday, three members of City Council called for a special meeting early next week to stop the city’s law office from fighting Young and her legal team. Ald. Ray Lopez (15th), one of the members who requested the meeting, said they rescinded their request because Lightfoot “agreed in deed and writing” to settle the case against Young.
“We are on a moral path forward,” Lopez tweeted.
Bishop Tavis Grant of Rainbow Push took aim at COPA, saying it was a “failed experiment, and Black and Brown people have paid the price.”
COPA is still investigating Young’s case.
Trotter said he backed Lightfoot’s mayoral run but is beginning to question that support. If she doesn’t act swiftly, it could be a detriment to her chances at a second term, he said.