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Anjanette Young calls out Lori Lightfoot as settlement talks break down over botched police raid

Lawyer for social worker said city offered “less than half” the $2.5 million paid out to the victim of similar botched raid.

Flanked by attorneys and supporters, Anjanette Young discusses her civil case against the city of Chicago during a news conference outside the Thompson Center in the Loop, Wednesday morning, June 16, 2021.
Flanked by attorneys and supporters, Anjanette Young discusses her civil case against the city of Chicago over a botched police raid.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

As talks on a seven-figure lawsuit broke down this week, Anjanette Young called on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to deliver on promises to reach a quick settlement of Young’s lawsuit against the city and to support reforms that could have prevented the 2019 botched police raid at her home.

At a news conference Wednesday staged across from City Hall, Young and her attorney, Keenan Saulter, lambasted Lightfoot for what they called empty promises for reform and offers to make Young whole for the trauma suffered when an all-male team of a dozen Chicago Police officers burst into her apartment while executing a warrant.

Lightfoot met one-on-one with Young shortly after body camera video of the raid was leaked, and the mayor claimed to be deeply disturbed by images of a naked Young surrounded by officers, Saulter said. The video was leaked by Saulter to CBS2 in December 2020 as Young had a federal civil lawsuit pending against the city.

The federal suit was dismissed. In May, city lawyers made a take-it-or-leave-it offer of about $1 million during a mediation hearing with Young in a civil case filed in state court, and Young declined.

“We met on New Year’s Eve at her pastor’s office. There were a lot of words aired that day. There was a lot of apparent compassion. Mayor Lightfoot even had the audacity to send a peace lily before she got there,” Saulter said. “But those were just empty words, empty promises from a woman who is a politician.”

Saulter declined to say exactly what the city’s settlement offer was, but said it was less than half the $2.5 million the city paid to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a 3-year-old who was similarly traumatized by a police raid.

In a statement Wednesday, the Law Department said, “We were hopeful that a robust discussion moderated by an experienced former federal judge would lead to a fair and judicious outcome — one that would have fairly addressed Ms. Young’s traumatic experience, but also fair to the taxpayers. Mr. Saulter chose to reject the city’s offers and walked away from further settlement discussions.

“In light of Mr. Saulter’s decision, we have no choice but to litigate. We still believe this is a case that should settle, but Mr. Saulter will have to bring a different mindset to the table. Meanwhile, we will carry on, not litigate in the press, and make no further comment.”

Young also called out Lightfoot for not supporting an ordinance that would reform CPD policy on raids, banning “no-knock” warrants and requiring stricter verification of information before officers can get warrants. The “Anjanette Young Ordinance” has stalled in City Council committee.

“I will continue to fight until I receive the justice that I am due, or until you honor your words when you met with me in December,” Young said, addressing her remarks to Lightfoot. “You said that you would make it whole. Your words carry no weight. I want action, and I want it now.”

Multiple investigations were undertaken after the video was made public, a move that prompted city attorneys to seek sanctions against Saulter.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability in April handed over an extensive report on the raid and CPD’s conduct of warrant searches to Supt. David Brown, finding “significant deficiencies” with officers involved in the raid and CPD policy. The city Office of the Inspector General and private attorneys hired by the city also are reviewing the raid.