CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday said the video showing Anjanette Young being handcuffed naked by Chicago Police, which CBS 2 aired this week, was appalling.
Young stood naked before heavily armed Chicago Police officers who had just wrongly burst into her home during a bad raid in February 2019, just a few months before Lightfoot took office. She was handcuffed and pleaded with the officers, telling them they were wrong.
Mayor Lightfoot on Wednesday called the video showing that incident appalling – and apologized for the first time, after her office tried to keep you from seeing the video. The story by CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini is now making news across the nation.
Late Wednesday afternoon, a fired-up Mayor Lightfoot called the video “traumatic,” “horrifying,” and a “colossal mess.”
CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov held Mayor Lightfoot’s feet to the fire on Wednesday. The mayor said Wednesday that she was “blindsided” – though there is a caveat that on Tuesday, the mayor seemed to have a total grasp of the case.
And critics said it is a failure either way, because if Mayor Lightfoot did not know about the raid, she should have.
Kozlov asked Mayor Lightfoot repeatedly how it was possible she didn’t know about the raid or the city’s attempt to keep the video under wraps until after our story aired.
“Knowing that my words will not change what happened to you and your family almost two years ago, I nonetheless say I am sorry,” Mayor Lightfoot said.
The apology Wednesday came straight from Mayor Lightfoot to Young, two days after our story aired about the botched raid on her home.
“If you can hear that my voice is hoarse, it is because have been unsparing in my comments to all involved in this colossal mess,” Mayor Lightfoot said.
A mess in Lightfoot’s words, and an unacceptable travesty to others. There is community outrage, and national outrage, sparked by the body cam video of the raid where Young was handcuffed – naked, humiliated, and screaming that officers had the wrong house.
“We should hold the City of Chicago accountable,” said civil rights advocate and community organizer Ja’Mal Green. “We should hold the mayor accountable.”
Much of the heat is now directed right at Mayor Lightfoot. Right before the CBS 2 Investigators’ story, the city Law Department went to court to try to keep the video from airing.
The mayor also apologized for and criticized that move.
“Filing a motion against a media outlet to prevent something from being published is something that should rarely, if ever, happen,” Mayor Lightfoot said, “and had I been advised that this was in the works, I would have stopped it in its tracks.”
On Tuesday, Mayor Lightfoot denied she knew about the raid or the video until the morning after it aired. On Wednesday, she doubled down.
Kozlov: “Last year, we talked to you about this, and we know the police and Law Department were discussing giving Ms. Young the bodycam video, so how is it you didn’t know about it until yesterday?”
Lightfoot: “Because it was not brought to my attention. I learned about it when I woke up yesterday morning and started seeing the news coverage, and that’s a problem. It should never have happened.”
But there are still some fuzzy facts over why the city denied Young’s public records request for that video.
“My understanding is you guys asked for the video,” was Mayor Lightfoot’s initial response to Kozlov’s question.
Kozlov: “We reported, and it is very clear, that Ms. Young filed a FOIA for this vide last year and as denied.”
Lightfoot: “Again, my understanding is something different, but I will have my folks take it look at that and we’ll sort it out. If she filed, she filed.”
Kozlov: “And was denied. I mean, that’s part of this too.”
Lightfoot: “As I said, that’s not my understanding. But if she did, then I stand corrected.”
And the fallout is not only about the incident itself.
Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) said to the mayor, “I do think that when you talk about ethics, it is important that we do indeed talk about ethics.”
Aldermen, as well as activists, are lashing out – questioning why the city would work to hide the body cam video, especially considering Lightfoot campaigned as a reformer.
“As the mayor, as a Black woman, you should be more sensitive to this,” Green said.
“It tells me that they don’t care about me – a person who lives in this city,” Young said Wednesday.
Young said she was stunned by the mayor’s response, because Lightfoot sold her on promises of reform when she campaigned – in person – at Young’s church
“I did vote for you. I told my friends to vote for you,” Young said. “I believed in you as a Black woman running as mayor of City of Chicago.”
Mayor Lightfoot said she was horrified by the video, and took it personally. She also insists she is reform-minded. But critics say the handling of the video and unfinished into the matter falls on her.
“It simply should not have happened, and I will make sure that there’s full accountability what took place,” Lightfoot said.
To date, no one has been held accountable. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability still has not finished its investigation.
Kozlov asked the mayor if anyone could or should be fired over all of this. She sidestepped that question, but she did say she is ordering a review of the city’s video release policy and all pending search warrant cases.
She also wants COPA to wrap up its now-yearlong investigation into this matter.
COPA released the following statement late Wednesday afternoon:
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s (COPA) investigation into the actions of all involved officers related to the search of Ms. Anjanette Young’s home on February 21, 2019 remains open.
Ms. Young has not filed a complaint with COPA, however COPA initiated an investigation into this incident on November 12, 2019 in accordance with its ordinance upon notification by the City’s Law Department that a lawsuit had been filed.
“COPA’s investigation into this matter remains under active investigation and our commitment to a full and thorough investigation has not wavered. Upon conclusion of the investigation, and in accordance with ordinance, COPA’s findings and recommendations will be forwarded to the Chicago Police Department.
“We understand the public’s desire for answers and more importantly Ms. Young’s desire for resolution and closure. COPA’s Summary Report of Investigation (SRI) will be shared with Ms. Young and in furtherance of our commitment to transparency, the SRI will also be publicly posted on COPA’s website following the Department’s review and, if applicable, the serving of any resulting discipline charges against involved officers.
Also From CBS Chicago:
- ‘You Have the Wrong Place:’ Body Camera Video Shows Moments Police Handcuff Innocent, Naked Woman During Wrong Raid
- Lightfoot Sidesteps Questions About Why City Lawyers Tried to Keep Disturbing Body Camera Video Secret
- 3 High-Ranking Fire Department Officials Ask For Demotion, Including One Who Sources Say Was Twice Denied Boarding On A Plane Because He Was Drunk