CHICAGO (CBS) — The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has wrapped up its investigation of the case of Anjanette Young, the social worker who is suing the city after she was handcuffed naked in a botched police raid two years ago.
COPA said its 16-month investigation of the February 2019 raid of Young’s home produced nearly 100 allegations of misconduct against more than a dozen officers who took part in the raid.
Young has become the face of a troubling pattern of wrong raids uncovered as part of a years-long CBS 2 investigation. She is among dozens of people of color CBS 2 found were victims of wrong raids, after officers failed to do basic investigative work to check bad tips from confidential informants.
A full report on COPA’s investigation — including its findings and recommendations regarding officer misconduct — will be posted on its website after Brown reviews the report, and officers have been served with disciplinary charges.
“The raid of Ms. Young’s home was truly painful to watch,” COPA Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts said in a statement. “Given the significance of this investigation, COPA assigned this case to a uniquely constructed 10 member team to evaluate the critical Fourth Amendment issues raised in this complaint. 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.”
The agency has forwarded its findings and recommendations to Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, who will review the COPA recommendations before determining whether the department will seek any disciplinary action against any of the officers.
COPA also said it found “significant deficiencies in CPD policy and training regarding officers’ acquisition and execution of search warrants.”
“Over the course of the investigation, COPA issued three letters to CPD highlighting concerns about its Fourth Amendment training and search warrant acquisition and execution policies. COPA also reviewed and commented on CPD’s revised search warrant directives, contributing remarks to further enhance and clarify standards of officer conduct and increase post-execution review and accountability as well as improve operations by centralizing expertise, resources, and review chains, to address the unacceptable diffusion of responsibility. COPA strongly encourages CPD to afford the concerns raised regarding CPD’s Fourth Amendment training, search warrant acquisition and execution policies the attention equal to that given the investigative findings and recommendations set forth in the report,” COPA said in a statement.
The agency said its investigation included more than 30 interviews with officers, civilians, prosecutors, a judge, and the Cook County Sheriff’s office. Investigators also reviewed hundreds of pages of documents and hours of videos from the raid.
Video from the raid revealed officers handcuffed Young while she was naked and would not initially allow her to get dressed. It also shows how Young stood, naked and handcuffed, telling police they were in the wrong place at least 43 times.
COPA said, although videos show an officer tried to cover Young with a jacket 31 seconds after police entered her home, and then 14 seconds later tried to cover her more fully with a blanket, she was left handcuffed for nearly 10 minutes before she was allowed to dress, and then handcuffed again.
Despite months of public promises to resolve the case of an innocent social worker who was wrongly raided by the Chicago Police, her attorney said last month the City has yet to make a settlement offer and is delaying what could bring some closure to the incident that sparked national outcry.
In December of 2020, CBS 2 aired the damning body camera video that revealed the moments officers wrongly raided Anjanette Young’s home, pointed guns at and handcuffed her. Young was undressing for bed and unclothed when officers burst in.
While the botched raid happened in February of 2019, prior to when Mayor Lori Lightfoot took office, the video was unearthed while she was mayor. It wasn’t until the airing of the video more than a year later that Lightfoot promised to take steps to resolve the case.
“What I’ve directed my law department to do is, with respect to this one, if there is a pending case, get that case resolved,” Lightfoot said on Dec. 15, one day after CBS 2 aired the video.
On Dec. 16, Lightfoot publicly apologized to Young at a news conference.
“Knowing that my words will not change what happened to you and your family almost two years ago, I nonetheless say, I am sorry,” Lightfoot said.
The City’s top attorney, Mark Flessner, resigned amid public scrutiny. The video itself, along with the City’s legal attempts to stop CBS 2 from airing it, spurred months of backlash against city leaders.
But months later, Young and her attorney, Keenan Saulter, said public statements made by Lightfoot and her law department contradict what’s happened behind closed doors since then.
“As we sit here today, the City has offered Ms. Young zero dollars to resolve this case, still,” Saulter said.
Young likened the city’s handling of the case to how offers treated her the night of the raid. As she stood undressed and handcuffed, she told officers dozens of times they were in the wrong home, body camera video shows.
“One of the key things for me that night, and what I feel like continues to happen, is being invisible,” Young said. “I made several requests while I was in handcuffs, and no one responded to me. And it made me feel like I was invisible to the group of men who were in my home.
“I feel like I’m invisible to the Mayor and the city,” Young continued. “They continue to not see me, as anyone who deserves to be treated fairly, to receive justice, to be heard.”