Woman awarded $2.9 million in botched Chicago police raid endorses Johnson for mayor

Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson “is committed to making sure that the trauma that I endured ... never happens to another person,” said Anjanette Young, whose home was raided by Chicago police in 2019.

SHARE Woman awarded $2.9 million in botched Chicago police raid endorses Johnson for mayor
Anjanette Young speaks to reporters outside Chicago Police Department headquarters in 2020.

Anjanette Young, who was a victim of a botched raid by the Chicago Police Department in 2019, is is shown at a news conference in December 2020. On Tuesday, she endorsed Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson for mayor.

Pat Nabong /Sun-Times

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Social worker Anjanette Young, who was forced to stand naked while an all-male team of police officers raided her home — the wrong home — endorsed mayoral challenger Brandon Johnson on Tuesday.

Young’s decision to choose one of the candidates seeking to deny Mayor Lori Lightfoot a second term — four years to the day after the botched raid — is no surprise.

Although Young has received a $2.9 million settlement from the city, Lightfoot and her City Council allies have blocked the so-called Anjanette Young ordinance, which goes far beyond the police raid reforms imposed by the mayor and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown.

Johnson, a Cook County commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union organizer, has embraced those same, more sweeping reforms.

But Young’s endorsement of Johnson is nevertheless significant, because it could remind progressive voters about Lightfoot’s opposition to those reforms and the controversy surrounding Lightfoot’s changing story on what she knew and when she knew it about the Feb. 21, 2019, raid on Young’s home. 

“I’ve had enough of the lies that have been told to me by our current mayor. ... It’s time for me to hold her accountable. ... It’s time for her to move out of City Hall to give someone else room to do the work that she has refused to do,” Young told a news conference outside City Hall.

“We need someone who is not afraid to make changes to the police department.”

Young said Lightfoot is “mistaken” when she says it’s a two-candidate race between her and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas. She is “equally mistaken when she says she is the only viable Black candidate,” Young said.

Johnson “supports the things that matter to me. ... He is committed to making sure that the trauma that I endured ... never happens to another person,” Young said.

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 humiliation Young suffered was “unconscionable,” Johnson said.

Lightfoot was “complicit in blocking accountability and standing in the way of justice being served,” he added.

“It grieves me that this administration refuses to protect Black women,” Johnson said.

“As mayor of the city of Chicago, I will protect Black women. We’re gonna pass the Anjanette Young ordinance. We’re gonna ensure that the type of brutality and the errors of this police department — that we put an end to that.”

Lightfoot has argued her own search warrant reforms are enough.

On Tuesday, the mayor took Young’s endorsement of Johnson in stride.

“She has a right to support anyone that she wants,” Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot said she met with Young and apologized for the “horrible trauma” the social worker endured.

When settlement negotiations began, Lightfoot said, “we asked specifically, several times, in writing, if there was anything else that she wanted and we were told, in writing, by her lawyer: ‘No. There was nothing else.’ Which frankly was a surprise to me given the fact that she had articulated specific interest in other things ... beyond a monetary settlement.”

Last fall, a Council committee shot down more sweeping search warrant reforms that, among other things, would have required warrants to be executed only after a “written plan” using the “least intrusive” tactics possible.

Prior to the 10-4 vote, Young pleaded with alderpersons to approve the ordinance.

“Imagine it was your mother who was standing there,” Young said then. “None of us would have wanted our mother to have that type of experience.”

Before executing a warrant, police would have been required to wait 30 seconds and take “all available measures to avoid executing the warrant when children under 16 are present.” If children are present, police would have been prohibited from pointing firearms at or handcuffing them. Police would also have been prohibited from handcuffing or restraining parents and guardians in front of their children.

Pointing firearms at adults would have been prohibited “unless the person presented an imminent risk of death or serious bodily injury” to others.

“I did not lose my physical life that night, but I lost a lot of my life that night. My life will never be the same,” said Young.

CPD’s chief of operations Brian McDermott has argued a mandatory 30-second wait “may seem pretty reasonable,” but could “seem like an eternity” to a criminal or an officer.

McDermott was equally dead set against what he called a “cookie cutter policy” prohibiting officers from pointing guns at children.

“Let’s just say we’re serving a warrant for weapons and there’s a child sitting there who’s not listening to commands of an officer. He may be reaching for something. Let’s just say, God forbid, it be a handgun and we’re not allowed to point a weapon at that child,” McDermott said.

The mayor had insisted at first that she knew nothing about the raid until December 2020, when WBBM-TV (Channel 2) aired bodycam video of the raid.

After reviewing internal emails, however, the mayor admitted a top aide had warned her about the raid in November 2019.

“I have a lot of questions about this one,” Lightfoot wrote in an email at that time to top aides.

The mayor also has emphatically denied knowing anything about the Law Department’s efforts to stop CBS2 from airing the video, saying “a lot of trust in me” was “breached” by those efforts.

To underscore that point, she forced the resignation of the top attorney in the Law Department, corporation counsel Mark Flessner, a longtime friend who once served with Lightfoot in the U.S. attorney’s office.

Now-retired Inspector General Joe Ferguson has said Lightfoot’s decision to hire an outside law firm to investigate the raid and use attorney-client privilege to conceal details of that parallel investigation made it impossible for him to recommend disciplinary action against any city employees.

Ferguson has characterized the Lightfoot administration’s handling of the Anjanette Young video as a “remarkable, troubling closing of a circle.”

“It brings us back where we were five or six years ago and where her career got its jump-start. Yet the city is engaged in similar activity, and in this instance, with respect to a living victim,” he said.

Police used a battering ram to break into the front door of Anjanette Young’s home.

Police used a battering ram to break into the front door of Anjanette Young’s home.

Chicago Police Department video

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