CHICAGO (CBS) — For nearly a year, CBS 2 Investigators have uncovered a disturbing pattern of Chicago Police officers executing search warrants at the wrong homes based on incorrect or bad information.
The reporting revealed the devastating trauma on families across Chicago, and the lack of trust in law enforcement, left in the wake of these raids.
Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson said he has launched an internal investigation into how police are vetting information, and obtaining and executing search warrants, specifically for raids in which children are present at the home in question.
“Every one of these incidents is an aggravator and a perpetuator of mistrust that exists,” Ferguson said. “It really calls for a greater accountability and examination.”
In response to CBS 2’s reporting, Mayor Lori Lightfoot also committed to working with police leadership to find solutions and change the way officers treat children during police raids.
“We can’t have this,” Lightfoot said. “What does it mean when we make mistakes, and particularly, when we make mistakes in the way in which we deal with your/our children? That leaves an indelible scar that is very, very difficult to repair.”
Body camera footage and interviews with families obtained by CBS 2 revealed allegations of officers pointing guns at children, handcuffing innocent parents, destroying property and even handcuffing an 8-year-old child during these incidents. CBS 2 has interviewed 23 children as part of this series. Many of these raids occurred after police failed to take additional steps to verify information provided to them by confidential informants, our reporting found.
Ferguson said his office will examine how the department tracks information on wrong raids, and whether it’s done in a complete and accurate way to identify and solve problems – while also ensuring police can achieve their objectives and ensure their safety during searches.
“That’s why it has to be a part of policy, training, pre-raid planning and incredible professionalism in the actual execution,” Ferguson said, “so that we remove the children in a way that minimizes the trauma in what is an absolutely trauma-inducing situation.”
Note: CBS 2’s full investigation will air Thursday at 10 p.m. We will also continue to develop this story online. Throughout the day, you’ll hear from two new families who were impacted by bad police raids, including one whose home was raided three times, and another case with a surprising twist of where the suspect actually lived.