Alleging conspiracy and cover-up, Anjanette Young sues Chicago, 12 officers over police raid

Young was undressed and getting ready for bed when several Chicago police officers came into her Near West Side home, announcing a raid on Feb. 21, 2019.

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Police body camera video shows the raid on the home of Anjanette Young.

Police body camera footage shows the raid on the home of Anjanette Young in February 2019.

CBS 2 Chicago

Anjanette Young, the social worker who endured a humiliating botched raid conducted by Chicago police officers in 2019, has filed another lawsuit against the city, alleging Mayor Lori Lightfoot and several more high-ranking city employees “became involved in the conspiracy to cover up these grotesque human rights violations.”

The nine-count lawsuit was filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court and named the city and 12 CPD officers as defendants.

“The Defendant Chicago Police Officers failed in their duty to independently investigate and verify the particular place to be searched, theirs was not a good-faith error,” the suit states.

Young was in her Near West Side home in the evening hours of Feb. 21, 2019, when several CPD officers came in, 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.

An unnamed informant gave police Young’s address, saying a man was illegally possessing a gun there. But when officers arrived, they found only Young, who repeatedly told the officers that she lives alone.

The suit notes that when some of the officers realized that they were in the wrong home, two of the officers stepped outside and turned off their body cameras — in violation of CPD policy.

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 speaks at a news conference outside Chicago Police Department headquarters in December 2020.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Young previously filed a federal lawsuit against the city in connection to the raid, but that suit was dismissed last year.

The raid on Young’s home was brought fully to light in December when CBS 2 Chicago aired body camera footage of the search. The footage was leaked to the television station by Young’s lawyer, Keenan Saulter, in violation of a federal judge’s order. Before the footage was broadcast, attorneys for the city sought a court order to prevent the station from airing the video.

Lightfoot denied knowing anything about the Law Department’s efforts to stop the broadcast, and she later forced the resignation of Mark Flessner, the city’s corporation counsel and a friend of Lightfoot’s from their time working together in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The mayor also contended she didn’t know about the raid until the airing of the CBS report in December. However, she soon after acknowledged that a former aide brought the raid to her attention in November 2019.

Before any lawsuit was filed, Young submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the city for a copy of the body camera footage collected during the raid on her home. That request, though, was denied.

Three separate investigations were opened into the CPD’s handling of the raid by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the Office of the Inspector General, and by retired federal Judge Ann Claire Williams and the law firm Jones Day. All three remain open.

“The Law Department has not been served with the lawsuit to date and will review upon receipt,” a spokesperson for the city’s Law Department said in a statement. “We have communicated our commitment to an equitable and expeditious resolution which will allow Ms. Young’s path toward healing to continue. The city has asked Mr. Saulter, counsel to Ms. Young, to participate in mediation, and we are awaiting a response.” 

Earlier this month, Lightfoot signed an executive order to make it easier for victims of alleged police misconduct to get copies of records relevant to their case.

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