CHICAGO (CBS) — Still on the hot seat over the botched raid of Anjanette Young’s home in 2019, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday acknowledged her staff told her about the case sooner than she previously claimed, and admitted she was wrong about Young filing a Freedom of Information Act request for video footage of the incident.
A day after apologizing to Young for the raid, Lightfoot admitted on Thursday she was wrong when she said one day earlier she was first informed of Young’s case only this week, even though the raid itself happened in February 2019, and CBS 2 first began reporting on her case in November 2019.READ MORE: BREAKING: Police Respond To Report Of Shots Fired In River Oaks Center Mall In Calumet City
Although the mayor maintained she didn’t see video of the raid until this week, Lightfoot said her staff has since informed her that Young’s case and other wrong raids were brought to her attention in November of 2019. However, she said she doesn’t have any recollection of that.
“What I now know, having looked at some emails, is my team knew that this was an issue of great concern for me, issues meaning about the search warrants. They knew that I had tasked our chief risk officer to look into this and to work on reforming the policy, so this was lifted up to me as yet another example,” she said. “Again, I don’t have any specific recollection of it. It was in November when I was probably focused on budget issues and getting our budget passed through City Council, but it was flagged for me.”
Lightfoot also admitted she was wrong on Wednesday when she claimed Young never filed a FOIA request for the video of the raid, and angrily chastised Chicago Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt, who asked her why Young’s request had been denied, calling his reporting “reckless and irresponsible.”
On Thursday, Lightfoot admitted she was wrong about Young filing a FOIA request, and apologized to Pratt for her criticism.
“I can never let my frustrations and my emotions get the better of me, and I think I did yesterday,” she said.
The mayor said she has ordered a review of Young’s FOIA request to determine why it was denied, and is ordering changes to city policies so that victims like Young don’t have to file such a request for video of themselves.
“Anytime a victim wants information about the matter involving them – I don’t want to say case, because I don’t want to make it that formal – we’ve got to be more responsive and do a better job, and we’re going to do that,” Lightfoot said. “Anytime a person who’s a victim requests information about an incident that happened to them, our government’s obligation is to respond in a fulsome, transparent, and immediate way.”
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.
On Wednesday, the mayor called the video showing that incident appalling – and apologized for the first time, after her office tried to keep the public from seeing the video.
Lightfoot said she has reached out to Young’s attorney to ask to speak to her directly about the case, saying she feels like “we’re talking to each other at podiums and press conferences.”
“I’d like to have that conversation with her in person, and I will see whether or not my request is granted,” Lightfoot said.
Young stood before the media Wednesday with a direct message to Mayor Lightfoot: “I believed in you as a Black woman.”
Young said she voted for Lightfoot, whose own law department not only tried to stop CBS 2 from telling her story on Monday, but is asking a federal judge to punish her attorneys over the video’s release.
It is the job of police “to serve and protect,” Young said on Wednesday. “Well they didn’t do that for me. They didn’t care about me. So, yes, I would ask for accountability if you ask me what do I want from this.”
As a result of CBS 2 investigations of a series of wrong raids by CPD, the Police Department changed its search warrant policy in January 2020. It now contains new language that aims to protect children, requires two uniformed officers equipped with body cameras to enter a home during a raid, adds new training for officers, and will track some bad raids. But we found some significant gaps in the new policies that went into effect in January.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said the department added additional changes to its search warrant policies this month; specifically limiting the use of “no knock” warrants.READ MORE: Off-Duty CPD Officer Jose Castro Killed In High Speed Crash In Arlington Heights
“‘No knock’ warrants will only be approved if there is a danger to life and safety that has been articulated clearly, and only a high-level bureau chief can approve that ‘no knock’ warrant,” Brown said.
If a “no knock” warrant is approved, only the department’s SWAT team will be allowed to serve it, Brown said. The department also will add additional body cameras to the SWAT, narcotics, and gang teams “so that we can have video of every unit, every officer who might serve a warrant.”
“Of course, none of this makes what happened to Ms. Young any better, and it’s important to acknowledge her pain, but talk is cheap and it’s empty. We need to make sure that this never happens again with reformed policies, procedures, and accountability for the mistake,” Brown said.
Speaking about the video of the raid at Young’s home for the first time, Brown said the footage was difficult to watch.
“It’s hard not to feel Ms. Young’s anguish, and fear, and pain when viewing that video,” he said.
Brown said it shouldn’t have taken officers several minutes to allow Young to cover herself up after they burst in on her while she was naked.
“If that was your mother, how would you want her to be treated? You don’t train that in an academy. We hire people who we think know right from wrong, and if they don’t know right from wrong, they don’t need to be police officers,” he said. “It’s not complicated. Treat everyone with respect. Everyone deserves a measure of respect.”
Brown and Lightfoot said, if Young gives the city permission, the video of the raid at her home will be used as a training tool to show officers what not to do while executing a search warrant.
“Even if we had been in the right house, Ms. Young should have been treated with respect,” Brown said.
Lightfoot said she also has directed the city’s Law Department to provide her with a review of all pending search warrant cases, and she expects to receive that report by Friday.
“If we were in the wrong, we’re going to own it, and we’re going to make sure that these wrongs are corrected with all deliberate speed,” she said.
The mayor said she also has ordered a review of the city’s video release policy to get videos from cases of possible police misconduct released sooner, and is also calling on state legislators to change the state’s body-worn camera law to allow for more flexibility on what types of videos can be made public. Lightfoot said CDP faces a very high threshold when it comes to releasing video in cases that do not involve an arrest.
Lightfoot also repeated her apology to Young on Thursday, saying what happened to Young easily could have happened to her as well.
“I have an obligation to make that wrong right. It’s been painful and upsetting, but I think this gives us an opportunity to look at what happened from top to bottom,” Lightfoot said. “We will do better, and we will win back the trust that we have lost this week.”
However, Lightfoot has declined to say if anyone in her administration should lose their jobs over the handling of the Young raid or the city’s efforts to block the video from being made public.
“As I said yesterday, I have not been sparing in expressing my views to all involved about this colossal failure, not just the search – and that will get addressed through the COPA process – but also with the handling of this matter,” she said.MORE NEWS: 11-Year-Old Charged In Beating, Carjacking Is Part Of Trend Of Children Carjacking With Adults
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