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Chicago police oversight agency finds ‘significant deficiencies’ while reviewing Anjanette Young raid. Now up to top cop to decide discipline

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability said it reviewed nearly 100 allegations of misconduct against more than a dozen officers.

Police body camera video shows the raid on the home of Anjanette Young.
Police body camera video shows the raid on the home of Anjanette Young.
CBS 2 Chicago

The Chicago police oversight agency says it found “significant deficiencies” in the department’s policy and training on search warrants while reviewing a raid on the home of Anjanette Young, who was forced to stand naked as an all-male team of cops searched the wrong home in 2019.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability did not publicly detail the deficiencies, but an agency spokesman said COPA reviewed nearly 100 allegations of misconduct stemming from actions of more than a dozen officers. He did not say what the allegations were or how many were sustained.

All the allegations are detailed in a report COPA has submitted to Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, who will decide whether to bring administrative charges against the officers. COPA said it will release the report’s findings after Brown’s review.

COPA’s report is one of three investigations into the Feb. 21, 2019 raid that was captured on bodycam video — footage the city’s Law Department tried to keep from being publicly released.

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, 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.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Young was in her Near West Side home that evening when several officers came in, announcing the raid. Young was undressed and getting ready for bed.

COPA’s investigation found that Young was handcuffed immediately after officers arrived. Within 31 seconds of entry, an officer tried to cover Young with a jacket, and 14 seconds later she was covered more fully with a blanket, COPA said.

Young was handcuffed for nearly 10 minutes before she was allowed to dress, and then was handcuffed again, COPA said. Young was handcuffed for a total of nearly 17 minutes. Before officers left her home, Young was shown a copy of the warrant and allowed to make a phone call, COPA said.

“The raid of Ms. Young’s home was truly painful to watch,” COPA Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts said in a statement.

Roberts said the case was significant enough that COPA assigned a “uniquely constructed 10-member team to evaluate the critical Fourth Amendment issues raised in this complaint.”

The agency said it conducted more than 30 interviews with officers, civilians, a member of the judiciary, an assistant state’s attorney and the Cook County sheriff’s office. COPA said it also reviewed of hundreds of pages of documents and hours of video.

Over the course of the investigation, COPA said it sent three letters to the Chicago Police Department highlighting concerns about its Fourth Amendment training and search warrant policies, which have since been revised.

COPA said its recommendations would “clarify standards of officer conduct” and increase accountability.

“While we cannot fully heal the pain Ms. Young experienced on that day and ever since, we hope that our investigation and recommendations will enable the healing process,” Roberts said.

The public learned of the raid in December when CBS2 Chicago aired bodycam footage of the search. The video was leaked to the television station by Young’s lawyer, in violation of a federal judge’s order. Before the footage was broadcast, city attorneys sought a court order to prevent the station from airing the video.

Lightfoot denied knowing about the Law Department’s efforts to stop the broadcast, and she later forced the resignation of Corporation Counsel Mark Flessner, a friend of Lightfoot’s from their time working together in the U.S. attorney’s office.

Lightfoot claimed she didn’t know about the raid until the airing of the CBS’s report. But she soon acknowledged that a former aide told her about the raid in November 2019.

Young submitted a public records request to the city for a copy of the body camera footage collected during the raid on her home, but the request was denied. Young later filed suit against the city. The case was dismissed. In February, she filed another federal suit against the 12 officers and city.

Two other separate investigations were opened into the CPD’s handling of the raid by the Office of the Inspector General, and by retired federal Judge Ann Claire Williams and the law firm Jones Day.