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Lightfoot administration finalizing settlement with Anjanette Young over botched police raid

The Finance Committee’s agenda for its meeting Monday includes a settlement with the social worker but doesn’t say how much it is worth.

Anjanette Young, who was a victim of a botched raid by the Chicago Police Department in 2019, tears up as she speaks to the press outside the Chicago Police Department headquarters, Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16, 2020.
The city is finalizing a settlement with Anjanette Young over a police raid of her home in 2019.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration is close enough to a settlement with the victim of a botched police raid to put it on the agenda for Monday’s Finance Committee meeting, but nobody is saying how much money Anjanette Young will receive.

Four settlements are listed on the Finance Committee agenda. Three of them include the amount of money proposed for the plaintiff. The only exception is Anjanette Young v. City of Chicago.

During closed-door briefings on Thursday, alderpersons were told there would likely be a “second briefing” on Sunday afternoon or early Monday to outline the terms of the settlement with Young.

Young’s attorney Keenan Saulter could not be reached for comment. The mayor’s office released a statement: “It is our expectation that on Monday, the Finance Committee will be presented with a proposed settlement for consideration regarding Ms. Young. Out of deference to that process, we will not be commenting further.”

Young, a social worker, was in her Near West Side home the night of Feb. 21, 2019, when several Chicago police officers entered, announcing a raid. Young was undressed and getting ready for bed at the time, and she was forced to remain naked in front of the officers for 40 minutes as the ordeal unfolded.

In June, Alds. Ray Lopez (15th) and Jeanette Taylor (20th) used a parliamentary maneuver to delay Lightfoot’s appointment of Celia Meza as corporation counsel in protest of the Law Department’s treatment of Young. Meza filed a motion to dismiss Young’s lawsuit against the city after Young rejected what her attorneys viewed as a “low-ball” offer to settle for $1 million.

Taylor and Lopez were also miffed the mayor’s allies had refused to hold a hearing on an ordinance championed by African American female alderpersons, which included more sweeping search warrant reforms than a general order proposed by Lightfoot and Police Supt. David Brown.

The confirmation delay prompted a bizarre confrontation that saw Lightfoot recess the City Council meeting and march to the back of the Council chambers, where she had an angry confrontation with Taylor while pointing a finger in Taylor’s face.

On Friday, Taylor argued that no amount of money would be enough to compensate Young for “what she ultimately has lost” because of the way she was treated by the Chicago police officers.

“Her dignity and her pride — her trust in the people who are supposed to serve and protect. Her [resulting] distrust for [people in] government who dragged this along,” Taylor said.

Likewise, Taylor said the year-end settlement with Young will not erase the political “stain” for Lightfoot.

“The fact that she lied back and forth says a lot. She wasn’t honest. And this [settlement] took too long. And some of the things people have had to do to get this attention didn’t have to happen,” Taylor said.

Lopez, one of Lightfoot’s most outspoken City Council critics, argued the mayor has political motives for racing to settle with Young before year’s end.

“This is a black mark on her reputation. It’s a black mark on her leadership — particularly running against Rahm Emanuel and decrying his quote-unquote cover up of Laquan McDonald and then, in turn, having her own cover up just six months after taking office,” Lopez said.

“She wants this to go away as quickly as possible.”

Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th), the former Chicago Police officer now chairing the Committee on Public Safety, denied the settlement “has anything to do with” Lightfoot preparing to seek a second term.

“It has everything to do with righting a wrong and making sure that Ms. Anjanette Young is made whole to some degree,” said Taliaferro, one of Lightfoot’s closest Council allies.

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 Young telling officers more than 40 times that they had the wrong house as they made her stand there naked.

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 2020.

But after reviewing internal emails, the mayor admitted 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 emphatically denied knowing anything about her Law Department’s efforts to block 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 with Lightfoot in the U.S. attorney’s office.

Last month, now-former Inspector General Joe Ferguson said Lightfoot’s decision to hire an outside law firm to investigate the raid and use attorney-client privilege to conceal details of that parallel investigation hampered the inspector general’s internal investigation.

Before ending his 12-year run as Chicago’s top watchdog, Ferguson delivered a 163-page report on the raid. He was unable to recommend disciplinary action against any city employees.

“You can’t make a responsible determination about disciplinary findings when you know, in fact, that there is evidence other than what you’re able to collect yourself,” Ferguson told the Sun-Times.

Ferguson characterized the Lightfoot administration’s handling of the Young video as a “remarkable, troubling closing of a circle.”

“It brings us back where we were five or six years ago and where her career got its jump-start. Yet the city is engaged in similar activity — and in this instance, with respect to a living victim,” he said.