Under pressure from Black women aldermen, Anjanette Young Ordinance to reform search warrant process will get committee hearing

Ald. Maria Hadden said it’s “good to hear” Public Safety Committee Chairman Chris Taliaferro has “committed to giving us a hearing,” but she wants a specific date — and soon. “The people of Chicago can’t wait forever.”

SHARE Under pressure from Black women aldermen, Anjanette Young Ordinance to reform search warrant process will get committee hearing
A screenshot from body-camera video of a police raid in 2019 at the home of social worker Anjanette Young. The police were in the wrong home.

A screenshot from body-camera video of a police raid in 2019 at the home of social worker Anjanette Young. The police were in the wrong home.

CBS 2 Chicago

The chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee agreed Wednesday to hold a hearing on sweeping search warrant reforms championed by Black female aldermen aimed at preventing a repeat of the botched raid on the wrong home that forced Anjanette Young to stand naked before male police officers.

But Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) refused to commit to a specific date, noting that ordinances pertaining to civilian police oversight, consent decree compliance and domestic violence against women are also pending before his committee and those police reform issues are equally important.

Meanwhile, Taliaferro urged Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) and the other co-sponsors of the so-called “Anjanette Young Ordinance” to meet with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and try to strike a compromise between their version and the search warrant reforms unveiled by the mayor and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown last week.

A former Chicago Police officer, Taliaferro said parts of the ordinance would “make police practices much better” but others “would cause harm to police officers” and the general public.

“I can’t take the fullness of either one of them and say that they’re perfect,” he said. “There has to be a compromise.”

Without a copy of the ordinance, Taliaferro could not pinpoint what makes it unsafe for police officers.

He talked only in general terms about how dangerous and deadly it can be for police officers to execute a search warrant and raid the home of someone believed to be a criminal suspect.

“If you’re executing a search warrant to obtain an illegal product — whether it’s guns, drugs or whatever — sometimes in the execution of an arrest warrant, folks will defend themselves. Folks will shoot at police,” he said.

“I’m not discussing Breonna Taylor because that was a bad raid. I’m talking about your drug dealers, your gang-bangers. People who are hiding a cache of weapons. They will shoot at the police because some of ’em don’t have a regard for their own lives. They’d rather go out in a shooting, rather than being arrested. I’ve heard people say, ‘I’m not going back to jail.’ Their primary focus is to harm anybody who tries to get in their way.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a press conference at City Hall in the Loop, Wednesday morning, March 3, 2021, where she and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown announced reforms in how search warrants are approved, planned, carried out and reviewed.

At a news conference last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPD Supt. David Brown announced a proposal to reform how search warrants are approved and carried out. But a group of Black aldermen are backing a proposal they say is better, criticizing the mayor for not going far enough.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Hadden said it’s “good to hear” Taliaferro has “committed to giving us a hearing.” But vague promises and a long timeline won’t cut it. She wants a specific date — and soon.

“We saw last month that he delayed a much-anticipated vote on key pieces of legislation into civilian accountability. And he delayed that at the behest of the mayor,” Hadden said.

“I respect his leadership and want to see him run his committee the way that it needs to be run in order to not hold up important legislation. … The people of Chicago can’t wait forever. We’re gonna need a date.”

As for Taliaferro’s claim that certain aspects of her ordinance could be unsafe for police officers, Hadden said she looks forward to hearing how.

“Chairman Taliaferro has been a police officer. I respect his opinion and his viewpoint. That’s exactly why we need a hearing,” she said.

Hadden has vowed to forge ahead with her own ordinance, arguing it is stronger in “17 different ways” than the reforms outlined by Lightfoot and Brown.

No-knock warrants would be forbidden and all other residential raids would have to be conducted between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., using the “least intrusive” tactics possible. Before executing a warrant, police would be required to take “all available measures to avoid executing the warrant when children under 16 are present.” If children are present, police would be prohibited form pointing firearms at or handcuffing them.

Noting that Lightfoot has “lost credibility on this issue” because of her changing story about what she knew and when knew it about the botched raid on Young’s home, Hadden has said, “Why would people trust her executive order?”

Asked Wednesday about Taliaferro’s call for a compromise, Hadden said: “Input from the mayor and the police department is absolutely something that we would love to hear about our ordinance because we want to hear from impacted people. But no one has reached out to talk about it.”

“We’re gonna march forward with an ordinance because it’s one of the pieces that’s gonna bring a little more accountability. There’s no way to really merge the two, in that some of their pieces and policy changes already show up in ours,” Hadden said.

“The real conversation is what’s gonna be the best policy for protecting Chicagoans.”

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