Chicago Police Department raids on homes plummet, City Hall inspector general finds
The city watchdog also says a police database doesn’t list raids done at the wrong address — like the bungled search of the apartment of Anjanette Young.
The number of Chicago police raids on homes has steadily fallen since 2019, when officers conducted a bungled search on the apartment of Anjanette Young, who was naked and crying as she told them they were in the wrong place, according to a report Thursday from City Hall’s inspector general.
In 2019, police searched 1,424 homes, compared with 523 in 2020.
The inspector general didn’t give a reason for the drop in the number of residential raids, but there has been increased scrutiny of the Chicago Police Department as a result of botched search warrants and decreased police activity overall during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s report also found that the city’s electronic tracking system for warrants doesn’t record raids the police mistakenly made at the wrong address. Also, about a quarter of the searches that were logged in the police database had incomplete information about the targeted address.
In raiding homes, the police department 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 department’s residential searches were done mostly on the West Side and South Side.
One police beat — No. 1112 in the Harrison patrol district in West Humboldt Park — saw the most search-warrant raids of any beat in the city, with 123. That beat also was one of the most violent places in the city last year. Beat Nos. 713 and 715 in Englewood ranked second and third.
The inspector general examined whether the police searches resulted in recoveries of evidence that officers said they were looking for. In 75% of the residential raids, the police found drugs they’d said, in obtaining warrants, that they wanted to seize. In 40% of them, they got guns they’d said they were seeking.
Police raids have been under a microscope since Sgt. Xavier Elizondo and Officer David Salgado were arrested in 2018 on charges of giving phony information to judges to obtain warrants, which the two now-former cops were convicted of using to steal drugs and cash. Last year, they were sent to federal prison.
In late 2020, the scrutiny over search warrants intensified after WBBM-Channel 2 aired a video of the Feb. 21, 2019, raid on Young’s West Loop apartment. The officers’ body-worn cameras showed Young, naked and handcuffed, as she frantically told them they’d barged into the wrong address. An officer put a blanket over the social worker’s shoulders before the cops realized they made a mistake. Young has sued the city over the botched raid.
On Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was “dubious” about a proposed ordinance named for Young that would govern search warrants. She pointed out that, about two months ago, the police department proposed changes to its search-warrant policy that aimed to eliminate “wrong raids,” require senior police officials to sign off on warrants and mandate additional training for officers who carry out searches.
City officials say they expect the policy will take effect by Memorial Day.