CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson has denied repeated requests to sit down with the CBS 2 Investigators about wrong raids by officers.
But Johnson did talk with WVON 1690 AM radio, where he was asked about the mistakes. CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey fact-checked Johnson’s claims on Thursday.
Johnson initially told CBS2 Investigators that the Chicago Police Department tracked the number of wrong raids. He later said, “Yeah, well I misspoke, so, the city Law (Department) tracks that for us.”
Then Wednesday night, he told WVON’s Kimberley Egonmwa and Matt McGill that of the approximately 7,000 search warrants executed since 2016. A total of 300 were reported as problematic.
“The city Law Department was able to verify that probably 30 of them, the complainants were correct, you know, So that’s less than one percent,” Johnson said.
The problem is the Law Department has already told us that number of around 30 is wrong. That is just the number of claims they received for any property damage complaints from any police-related incidents or “police practices claims.”
And no one can give us a firm number of total wrong raids, because neither the Law Department nor the Police Department appear to track it.
“We have to check, double check, and triple check before we actually execute the warrant,” Johnson said on WVON.
That’s another point with which the CBS 2 Investigators take issue. In several cases, the CBS 2 Investigators were able to verify without access to police databases that the target of the raid was not at the home.
Jalonda Blassingame and her three sons – Jaden Fields, Jeremy Harris, and Justin Harris – accuse police in a lawsuit of wrongly raiding their home, pointing guns at children and traumatizing them in January 2015.
According to the complaint for search warrant, police acted on the word of a confidential informant who told police weekly heroin sales were being made by Derec Bell, a man also known as “Ace,” at the address where Blassingame and her children lived then.
But Bell could not have been selling heroin at that address at that time because CBS 2 found he was actually in Galesburg, 200 miles away, at the Hill Correctional Center. He had been incarcerated there for six years.
We’re still waiting on FOIA requests for all search warrant data and body camera videos that could show what happened during the wrong raids we found.
In the meantime, the victims and Johnson can agree on one thing.
“Little kids should not have a gun pointed in their face,” Johnson said. “They just shouldn’t.”
Johnson did say that one bad raid is one too many. In April, we requested all search warrant data, but were given insufficient records.
We’ve appealed with the Attorney General’s office.
The Blassingames’ story came to light after the family shared their story with us by filling out the interactive form below.