CHICAGO (CBS) — The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has wrapped up its investigation of the case of Anjanette Young, the social worker who is suing the city after she was handcuffed naked in a botched police raid two years ago.
COPA said its nearly 18-month investigation of the February 2019 raid of Young’s home produced nearly 100 allegations of misconduct against more than a dozen officers who took part in the raid. COPA began investigating the raid in early November 2019, after it was notified of a lawsuit Young had filed against the city.READ MORE: Oak Park Condo Owners Say Repair Work Has Gone Nowhere After More Than A Year And A Half, Despite Hefty Fees To Contractor
Young has become the face of a troubling pattern of wrong raids uncovered as part of a years-long CBS 2 investigation. She is among dozens of people of color who CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini found were victims of wrong raids, after officers failed to do basic investigative work to check bad tips from confidential informants.
The agency has forwarded its findings and recommendations to Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, who will review the COPA recommendations before determining whether the department will seek any disciplinary action against any of the officers.
A full report on COPA’s investigation — including its findings and recommendations regarding officer misconduct — will be posted on its website after Brown reviews the report, and officers have been served with disciplinary charges.
“The raid of Ms. Young’s home was truly painful to watch,” COPA Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts said in a statement. “Given the significance of this investigation, COPA assigned this case to a uniquely constructed 10 member team to evaluate the critical Fourth Amendment issues raised in this complaint. While we cannot fully heal the pain Ms. Young experienced on that day and ever since, we hope that our investigation and recommendations will enable the healing process.”
COPA also said it found “significant deficiencies in CPD policy and training regarding officers’ acquisition and execution of search warrants.”
“Over the course of the investigation, COPA issued three letters to CPD highlighting concerns about its Fourth Amendment training and search warrant acquisition and execution policies. COPA also reviewed and commented on CPD’s revised search warrant directives, contributing remarks to further enhance and clarify standards of officer conduct and increase post-execution review and accountability as well as improve operations by centralizing expertise, resources, and review chains, to address the unacceptable diffusion of responsibility. COPA strongly encourages CPD to afford the concerns raised regarding CPD’s Fourth Amendment training, search warrant acquisition and execution policies the attention equal to that given the investigative findings and recommendations set forth in the report,” COPA said in a statement.
COPA also pointed out there were significant deficiencies in the way the search warrant was obtained and executed.
This is something the CBS 2 Investigators have been exposing for years – police simply relying on the word of confidential informants and not independently verifying they have right address. In Young’s case, the target of raid actually lived next door and was wearing an electronic monitoring device – so police should have known where he was.
“We know what the problems with using confidential informants are – that they typically have something to kind of repay the police, and so they have an incentive to tell the police anything to kind of turn the heat off, quite frankly,” said Young’s attorney, Keenan Saulter.
The agency said its investigation included more than 30 interviews with officers, civilians, prosecutors, a judge, and the Cook County Sheriff’s office. Investigators also reviewed hundreds of pages of documents and hours of videos from the raid.
Video from the raid revealed officers handcuffed Young while she was naked and would not initially allow her to get dressed. It also shows how Young stood, naked and handcuffed, telling police they were in the wrong place at least 43 times.
COPA said, although videos show an officer tried to cover Young with a jacket 31 seconds after police entered her home, and then 14 seconds later tried to cover her more fully with a blanket, she was left handcuffed for nearly 10 minutes before she was allowed to dress, and then handcuffed again.
Young said Thursday that she has been waiting all this time for someone to be held accountable for the wrong raid on her apartment.
“I am annoyed, you know, that it took as long as it did,” she told Savini. “It’s hurtful.”
Savini asked Young if it was a big deal for her to hear of 100 allegations of misconduct.
“I absolutely believe that there was something that they uncovered 100 allegations,” she said. “My concern is what will they do about it? Will they be outlined in a way that these officers will be held accountable? What are the consequences of these 100 allegations?”READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Low 20s Monday Night; Arctic Cold Front Coming Wednesday Morning
Young was also upset that specific details of what COPA found were not released in the report Thursday.
“That report does not support the pain and the suffering and the trauma that I have experienced from that night,” Young said.
Despite months of public promises to resolve Young’s case, her attorney Saulter said last month the City has yet to make a settlement offer and is delaying what could bring some closure to the incident that sparked national outcry.
In December of 2020, CBS 2 aired the damning body camera video that revealed the moments officers wrongly raided Young’s home, pointed guns at and handcuffed her. Young was undressing for bed and unclothed when officers burst in.
While the botched raid happened in February of 2019, prior to when Mayor Lori Lightfoot took office, the video was unearthed while she was mayor. It wasn’t until the airing of the video more than a year later that Lightfoot promised to take steps to resolve the case.
“What I’ve directed my law department to do is, with respect to this one, if there is a pending case, get that case resolved,” Lightfoot said on Dec. 15, one day after CBS 2 aired the video.
On Dec. 16, Lightfoot publicly apologized to Young at a news conference.
“Knowing that my words will not change what happened to you and your family almost two years ago, I nonetheless say, I am sorry,” Lightfoot said.
The City’s top attorney, Mark Flessner, resigned amid public scrutiny. The video itself, along with the City’s legal attempts to stop CBS 2 from airing it, spurred months of backlash against city leaders.
But months later, Young and Saulter said public statements made by Lightfoot and her law department contradict what’s happened behind closed doors since then.
“As we sit here today, the City has offered Ms. Young zero dollars to resolve this case, still,” Saulter said.
Young likened the city’s handling of the case to how offers treated her the night of the raid. As she stood undressed and handcuffed, she told officers dozens of times they were in the wrong home, body camera video shows.
“One of the key things for me that night, and what I feel like continues to happen, is being invisible,” Young said in a past interview. “I made several requests while I was in handcuffs, and no one responded to me. And it made me feel like I was invisible to the group of men who were in my home.
“I feel like I’m invisible to the Mayor and the city,” Young continued. “They continue to not see me, as anyone who deserves to be treated fairly, to receive justice, to be heard.”
Brown has 60 days to respond to the COPA report, although he could ask for more time. If he does not agree with COPA’s findings and recommendations, it goes before a member of the Police Board, who would act basically like an arbitrator, for a final decision.
In the wake of the report, both Young and Saulter are concerned with what is next. Will there be real accountability. They say nobody cared about accountability until the body camera video was finally revealed.
“Allegations could be founded or unfounded,” Young said. “So the bottom line is I have to continue to fight this. And I have to continue to be in this space of hurt and pain.”MORE NEWS: View Live Radar
Meanwhile, COPA also said they informed the CPD that they need to look at all of their search warrant policies and practices this is systemic failure.