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Chicago unveils new search warrant policy in attempt to fix issues that led to wrongful raid of Anjanette Young’s home

The new policy aims to fix supervision issues that led to the humiliating raid of Anjanette Young, who was forced to stand naked as a male team of cops searched the wrong home in 2019.

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 Chicago Police Department on Friday unveiled its updated search warrant policy, which aims to fix supervision issues that led to the humiliating raid of Anjanette Young, who was forced to stand naked as a male team of cops searched the wrong home in 2019.

The new search warrant policy, which underwent weeks of public comment, will go into effect May 28. CPD said it reviewed more than 800 public comments while drafting it.

The department said the new policy:

  • Requires deputy chiefs or above to review all search warrants;
  • Requires an independent investigation to verify information used in a search warrant;
  • Limits “no-knock” search warrants, which will be served by SWAT, to dangerous situations that could threaten the lives of officers or others;
  • Requires a lieutenant be on scene of a search as well as at least one female officer;
  • Requires all officers on a search warrant use body-cameras;
  • Ensures that wrong raids are documented afterward, and that the presence of children also be noted in reports;
  • Requires post-search reviews of raids.

In a statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the safeguards ensure that “accountability, transparency, and human dignity are the guiding principles of policing here in Chicago.”

Last month, Chicago police’s oversight agency said it found “significant deficiencies” in the department’s policy and training on search warrants while reviewing the raid on Young’s home.

The new policy attempts to rectify the issues in that raid and includes the instructions that all “department members will treat all persons with the courtesy and dignity which is inherently due every person and will act, speak, and conduct themselves in a courteous, respectful, and professional manner.”

But the ACLU of Illinois claimed CPD did not do enough to get feedback from communities of color, which are most affected by police raids, while revising the search warrant policy.

The “city failed to meaningfully engage with impacted communities in the process of creating this new policy,” Nusrat Choudhury, legal director of ACLU of Illinois, said in a statement.

“Black and brown residents across Chicago have been victims of wrong raids, and unnecessarily violent raids, for years. But the City’s principal means of engaging with these communities was to post this policy on the CPD online portal for written comments — not to meet with community organizations whose members have been impacted by wrong raids,” Choudhury said.

In January, the Office of the Inspector General called for CPD to make immediate changes to its policy on search warrants after details of the Young raid were made public. The public learned of the raid in December when CBS2 Chicago aired bodycam footage of the search.

Young was in her Near West Side home Feb. 21, 2019, when several officers came in, announcing the raid. Young was undressed, getting ready for bed, and was immediately handcuffed. She was partially covered with a blanket but the ordeal lasted 40 minutes.

Video of the raid 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 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.

After the release of the video, the city made immediate changes in January to the search warrant policy, requiring body cameras be used and for CPD to keep records of wrongful raids.

A May report from the city’s inspector general found that Chicago police raids on homes have steadily fallen since 2019. In raiding homes, CPD has disproportionately gone after people of color, the report said. Between 2017 and 2020, Black men were targeted 4.6 times more than Latino men and 25 times more than white men.

The new search warrant policy can be read here.