Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday announced that the Chicago police officers involved in the botched 2019 raid on Anjanette Young’s home have all been assigned to desk duty as the CPD’s watchdog agency investigates.
Lightfoot said CPD Supt. David Brown ordered the officers taken off the street as the Civilian Office of Police Accountability continues its inquiry. COPA Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts said during the Chicago Police Board meeting last week that she expected the investigation to conclude early next year.
Addressing the media a day after she received the resignation of Corporation Counsel Mark Flessner, Lightfoot announced Celia Meza, the mayor’s counsel and senior ethics adviser, would lead the Law Department on an interim basis.
The disclosures came the same day the City Council’s Black Caucus called for creating a new committee to inspect and review civil litigation tied to the CPD.
“With the creation of the Committee on Litigation Review and Risk Management, we will make sure that we are reviewing the cases and the settlements with the actual attorneys that worked those cases up, and not a representative,” Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said.
“We will work together collectively to do in-depth reviews of the cases and the settlements that are presented before City Council,” Hairston said. “We recognize that there are racial undertones of departments while considering settlements and causes of action, and we will make sure that we thoroughly question everybody and their intent.”
The new committee was one of several demands put forth by the Black Caucus on Monday — a day before the City Council’s committees for Public Safety and Health and Human Relations are scheduled to hold a joint hearing to address the CPD’s search warrant procedures.
Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), chair of the Black Caucus, also called for abolishing “warrants based solely on the use of paid informants”; establishing a database to monitor search warrant patterns and efficacy; adhering to a standardized process for search warrant applications; and changing the city’s video release policy to make it easier for people involved in incidents with police to acquire video footage.
Flessner resigned as the city’s corporation counsel on Sunday amid uproar driven by the raid of Anjanette Young’s home nearly two years ago. Monday evening, the mayor’s office said two more Law Department employees — Deputy Corporation Counsel Caryn Jacobs and Director of Public Affairs Kathleen Fieweger — were also no longer employed with the city.
In February 2019, Chicago police wrongly raided Young’s Near West Side home. It wasn’t until earlier this month that the raid came to light when Lightfoot’s Law Department attempted to block CBS Channel 2 from airing body camera footage showing a naked and handcuffed Young telling officers more than 40 times they had the wrong home.
The city sought sanctions against Young’s lawyer but took back the request Friday. Young previously tried to obtain the footage herself through the Freedom of Information Act but was denied.
Originally, Lightfoot said she wasn’t aware of the raid on Young’s house, but on Thursday, the mayor acknowledged being informed of the raid more than a year ago.
Lightfoot told WVON 1690 AM Friday she sent a note to every single lawyer in the city’s Law Department telling them they must never lose sight of the fact that Young, a resident of Chicago, felt she had been harmed by the government.
“You are ambassadors of our values as a city,” Lightfoot said she wrote to the Law Department. “If you lose sight of those things, I need your resignation now. I intend to follow through on that.”