By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced a new process for victims alleging police misconduct to gain access to materials, including video recordings and initial police reports, in Chicago.

Lightfoot signed an executive order creating the first city guidelines governing the release of such materials directly to complainants.

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This comes after an investigation into “possible misconduct” by city officials, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office, for how they handled the botched raid on Anjanette Young’s home in February 2019 and the aftermath of CBS 2’s reporting on the incident.

In December, CBS 2 aired the video that revealed the moments Chicago Police officers burst into Young’s home – the wrong home – and handcuffed her while she was naked. The video was critical in showing how officers treated Young and how she told them they were in the wrong place more than 43 times.

The city took CBS 2 to federal court to try to stop the video from being aired. CBS 2 aired the video anyway and a judge denied the city’s request.

CBS 2 previously pressed the mayor on why Young, who filed a Freedom of Information Act request was denied.

“My understanding is something different, but I will have my folks take a look at it and we will sort it out. If she filed she filed,” the mayor said. 

The next day Lightfoot backpedaled.

“I learned yesterday after I spoke in fact Ms. Young did file a FOIA request,” she said. “I stand corrected on that. That request by filed with Chicago police in November 2019. That request was denied.”

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Victims will no longer have to request video and other materials via the FOIA “or be constrained by the limitations of FOIA,” according to a release from Lightfoot’s office. Under FOIA, alleged victims are required to follow the same process as any member of the public.

“We’ve got to learn from history we have to learn from the mistakes made in the past,” said CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller.

“This Order puts in place changes that we have seen are long-overdue in how complainants of alleged misconduct receive the material they need to pursue the recourse and closure they deserve,” Lightfoot wrote. “While we still have a long way to go, this measure represents an important and meaningful step in our journey toward ensuring full public safety accountability and justice in the City of Chicago.”

Under the city’s current video release policy, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability releases videos only in certain use of force incidents. If materials including video are part of an ongoing investigation or COPA review, the person filing the complaint can’t get it.

Under the new policy, complainants who are the subject of the incident will submit a request to COPA for the materials. COPA will notify CPD and the Department of Law within three days and then release the materials to the complainant no less than 30 days following the request. Any requests for a delay will expire after 90 days, unless prohibited by law or a court order.

But why is this happening now?

“I think of the adverse publicity generated because of the reports your station has done,” said Miller. “It’s a national story. It’s not just a local story because of what Channel 2 did. It cried out for a remedy to take place.”

The new order goes into effect March 7.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff