Inspector general clarifies investigation of botched police raid of social worker’s home

Inspector General Joe Ferguson said his investigation, one of three into the raid of Anjanette Young’s home, may look at “actions conducted by, through or on behalf of CPD, COPA, the Law Department, and the Mayor’s Office.”

SHARE Inspector general clarifies investigation of botched police raid of social worker’s home
Anjanette Young, who was a victim of a botched raid by the Chicago Police Department in 2019, speaks to the press outside CPD headquarters on Dec. 16, 2020.

Anjanette Young, victim of a botched raid by the Chicago Police Department in 2019, speaks to the press outside CPD headquarters in December.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Inspector General Joe Ferguson on Wednesday shed more light on the nature of his investigation into the botched police raid on the wrong house that humiliated an innocent woman and left her handcuffed while naked for 40 minutes.

Ferguson’s investigation, demanded by Chicago aldermen, is one of three being conducted on the February 2019 incident at the home of Anjanette Young that has severely shaken public trust in Mayor Lori Lightfoot because it was captured on bodycam video that the city’s Law Department tried to conceal.

The other investigations are being conducted by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and, at Lightfoot’s request, by former federal Judge Ann Claire Williams.

After receiving numerous requests, Ferguson released a statement that seeks to clarify just who is investigating what.

“OIG, in addition to its Public Safety section’s ongoing long-term, programmatic study of CPD’s policies and practices around ‘wrong raid’ search warrants … is conducting a disciplinary investigation into possible misconduct by all involved City actors, except for those upon whom COPA’s investigation is focused,” the statement said.

“OIG’s investigation may include inquiry into actions conducted by, through or on behalf of CPD, COPA, the Law Department, and the Mayor’s Office. OIG’s work may further include programmatic and policy issues and recommendations of broader application that may be identified in the course of the investigation.”

Although the municipal code “places limits on content, form and timing” of what can be disclosed about disciplinary investigations, Ferguson said he is committed to “ensuring that, as a whole, the various efforts underway provide the robust, thoroughgoing accountability called for by this incident and its aftermath with as much transparency as the law allows.”

Lightfoot has been under fire for her changing story about what she knew and when she knew it about the botched raid that saw a crying Anjanette Young telling officers more than 40 times that they had the wrong house as they cavalierly allowed her to stand there naked. It took a long time before one of the officers finally gave her a blanket to cover up.

She has met with Young and personally apologized for having been “denied her basic dignity as a human being.”

The mayor initially insisted she knew nothing about the raid until WBBM-TV (Channel 2) aired the video in December.

But after reviewing internal emails, the mayor was forced to admit she learned about the raid in November 2019, when a top aide warned Lightfoot about a “pretty bad wrongful raid” by Chicago police.

“I have a lot of questions about this one,” she wrote at the time to top aides.

The mayor has emphatically denied knowing anything about her Law Department’s efforts to block the CBS2 from airing bodycam video of the raid. To underscore the point, she forced the resignation of Corporation Counsel Mark Flessner, a longtime friend who served together with Lightfoot in the U.S. attorney’s office.

Lightfoot is a former Police Board president who co-chaired the Task Force on Police Accountability in the furor that followed the police shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel was ordered to release the video of convicted Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald sixteen times after the video was concealed until Emanuel had been safely re-elected in 2015.

Lightfoot personally drafted the policy that requires the city to release body and dash cam video of police shooting and other incidents involving police shootings within 60 days.

That’s apparently why the accusation that she somehow played a role in the Law Department’s efforts to conceal the video hit so close to home. It’s also why she is so sensitive to trust that she has lost.

“There’s a lot of trust that’s been breached. And I know that there is a lot of trust in me that’s been breached,” the mayor said in December.

“We will do better. We will win back the trust that we have lost.”

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