CHICAGO (CBS) — Civilian Office of Police Accountability chief investigator Andrea Kersten has been tapped as the agency’s interim chief administrator, nearly two weeks after former leader Sydney Roberts announced her resignation.
COPA spokesman Ephraim Eddy confirmed Tuesday that Mayor Lori Lightfoot appointed Kersten as the police watchdog agency’s temporary leader while the mayor searches for a permanent chief administrator.READ MORE: Parents Of Michigan School Shooter Arrested And Charged After Manhunt
After former COPA chief administrator Sydney Roberts announced her resignation on May 5, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she’d been “extraordinarily unhappy” with the way the agency had handled some investigations under Roberts’ leadership, including the 18-month investigation of the botched raid of Anjanette Young‘s home in February 2019.
“And a lot of that time nothing happened. That’s not acceptable. And I’ve been very candid about the fact that I think COPA needs to be much more responsive much more mindful about the fact that he carries a very important position and role in police accountability,” Lightfoot said shortly after Roberts’ resignation.
Lightfoot has denied she forced Roberts out. The mayor’s office did not respond to requests for comment on when Lightfoot expects to name Roberts’ permanent successor, or if Kersten would be considered for the job.
Kersten led COPA’s investigation of the raid on Young’s home.
The wrong raid on Young’s home two years ago was first exposed by CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini. Young was handcuffed naked and terrified by officers on a botched raid who had the wrong home.READ MORE: 12 Family Members Diagnosed With COVID-19 After Attending Milwaukee Wedding, 5 With Omicron Variant
When COPA wrapped up their probe of Anjanette Young’s case last month, the agency said its investigation 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.
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.
Authorities have yet to say what specific disciplinary action officers involved in the raid might face, but at a joint meeting of the City Council Committee on Public Safety and Committee on Health and Human Relations last December on Young’s case, Kersten said some of the violations that might be in play would be whether it was necessary to handcuff Young, how long she was handcuffed, leaving her naked, violating CPD human rights orders, and whether they gave her sufficient time to answer the door after knocking.
“Officers’ conduct must be reasonable, and it has to be conduct commensurate with what a reasonable officer in this same situation would or wouldn’t do. So that’s what we’re tasked with looking at,” she said.
Kersten also pointed out that, while CPD rarely applies for no-knock warrants, they have seen many cases in which officers execute so-called “knock and announce” search warrants as if they were no-knock warrants.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Rain Sunday, Flurries Monday
Before becoming COPA’s chief investigator, Kersten also served as deputy chief of investigations, and chief investigative law officer, according to her biography on COPA’s website. Prior to joining COPA, Kersten worked for eight years as a prosecutor at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, mostly handling domestic violence and sexual abuse cases. She’s also served as an administrative law judge for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.