CHICAGO (CBS) — Despite months of public promises from Mayor Lori Lightfoot to resolve the lawsuit with Anjanette Young, the city on Friday asked a judge to dismiss the case after settlement negotiations stalled.Transgender Attorney Says Judges And Clerks Have Harassed Her; Fights For Change
After CBS 2 aired the damning body camera video from the raid on Dec. 14, 2020, Mayor Lightfoot said she would make it a priority to settle the case quickly.
“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.
That was about six months ago, and on Wednesday, Young and her attorney, Keenan Saulter, called out the city for dragging its feet on the case. City representatives, however, said they have made efforts to settle.
In the motion filed Friday, the city argues that the case should be dismissed because the lawsuit failed to challenge “the underlying validity of the [search] warrant” and did not allege a legal wrong.
“Nothing in Plaintiff’s complaint alleges that the search warrant was improperly issued, that the warrant lacked probable cause, or that the Officers used excessive force,” the city’s motion said. The motion goes on to call part of the lawsuit that alleged a conspiracy to cover up some details of the raid, “legally incoherent.”
The city’s lawyers say that the Chicago police department executed a “validly issued search warrant” that was authorizing officers to enter her apartment. As such, Young’s argument that she was falsely arrested is invalid because a legal warrant allows “limited authority to detain the occupants of the premises.”
In its motion, the city said police officer Alain Aporongao used information from an informant as basis for the warrant. The officer even took the informant to the apartment to confirm it was the correct building. However, the city says, “unfortunately, the apartment turned out to belong to [Young] and the [suspect] in fact lived in a different apartment in the building.”
The CBS 2 investigation, however, found that the officer failed to do an independent investigation, to determine that the suspect lived next door and was on electronically monitoring. Those were facts that CPD could’ve easily determined but didn’t even check.
The city also argues the officers conducting the raid had a reasonable belief “they would find an armed felon’ and handcuffed a naked Young for 10 minutes while conducting a search. The city called the fact that Young was not wearing clothing regrettable.
Responding to the city’s motion, Saulter said: “As I indicated on Wednesday, Mayor Lightfoot, [Chicago Corporation Counsel] Celia Meza and their expensive outside attorneys continue to play games and waste taxpayer money while filing frivolous motions to dismiss.
“At the same time, this is a case that Mayor Lightfoot has repeatedly indicated that she would make Ms. Young whole and that she would direct her legal department to resolve this case. It is clear that the Mayor’s words are nothing but political talking points devoid of candor or action. It’s a sad day for Ms. Young and the citizens of Chicago.”
When asked for comment, a city law department spokeswoman referred CBS 2 to their statement issued on Wednesday, which appears in full near the end of this story.1 Killed, 3 Wounded In Shooting In Park Manor
On Dec. 16 2020, two days after CBS 2 aired the video, Mayor Lightfoot publicly apologized to Young at a news conference and later met with her in private. But in the courtroom, neither side is seeing eye to eye.
“We’re beyond sitting down with her anymore. We’ve done that, and it didn’t result in any action,” Young said during a news conference outside the Thompson Center Wednesday. “So my words to her are: ‘Mayor Lightfoot, you’ve continued stand in front of the cameras and say you want to resolve this. Either you step up and make real action towards my case and resolve this for me or we’ll see you at trial.’”
Back in March, CBS 2 obtained some emails detailing communications between the City’s law department and attorney Keenan Saulter regarding Young’s case. The emails revealed for the first time how the city responded after Saulter made his first settlement offer in March of 2020. This was after Young initially filed her lawsuit in federal court and before the body camera video was made public.
On March 16, 2020, Saulter emailed a settlement demand to multiple members of the City’s counsel, including Assistant Corporation Counsel Kyle Rockershousen.
On April 2, 2020, Rockershousen replied that the City would not offer Young any money to resolve her case.
“In response to your demand of [redacted], Defendants offer $0 to resolve this matter,” Rockershousen wrote.
At that time, city and police officials, as well as Lightfoot, knew about the body camera video and what it showed, according to internal emails previously released by the city.
On Wednesday, Saulter said during mediation on May 27, the city threatened to file a motion to dismiss. He provided an email to that effect from the city’s outside counsel, Eileen Letts.
“One, the city continues to disrespect Ms. Young and her right to counsel by attempting to separate Ms. Young from my firm,” Saulter said. “Ms. Young made it clear today during the press conference that I only act at her behest, that I have handled her case from the beginning until now at her direction.”
He continued: “During the mediation, which was scheduled to go from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the City made a take-it-or-leave-it offer before 1 p.m., and they made the decision to walk away from mediation. While we had another proposal on the table, they refused to further negotiate.”
Saulter also said he believes this mediation not being concluded was a waste of taxpayer dollars.
“My attitude has nothing to do with why this case hasn’t settled,” he said. “Conversely, the city’s legal department and the City of Chicago have attempted to bully Ms. Young and me… and that will not continue.”
A spokesperson for the city’s Law Department on Wednesday did not confirm that the city threatened to dismiss the case, but did say that Saulter chose to reject the city’s offers and walked away from further settlement discussions:
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““There is no disagreement that the events which occurred at Ms. Young’s home in February 2019 were traumatic for her and the community. No one should have to endure what Ms. Young experienced which is why the City has remained committed to mending the harm done and finding an equitable and expeditious resolution to this matter. We were encouraged when Mr. Saulter finally agreed to Mediation, a Mediation in which the City assumed all costs. We were hopeful that a robust discussion moderated by an experienced former federal judge would lead to a fair and judicious outcome – one that would have fairly addressed Ms. Young’s traumatic experience, but also fair to the taxpayers. Mr. Saulter chose to reject the City’s offers and walked away from further settlement discussions.
“In light of Mr. Saulter’s decision, we have no choice but to litigate. We still believe this is a case that should settle, but Mr. Saulter will have to bring a different mindset to the table. Meanwhile, we will carry on, not litigate in the press, and make no further comment.”
Saulter issued his own statement in response, reiterating some of his earlier remarks:
“The city continues to disrespect Ms. Young and her right to counsel by attempting to separate Ms. Young from my firm.
“Ms. Young made it clear today during the press conference that I only act at her behest that I have handled her case from the beginning until now at her direction.
“The Corporation Counsel’s office continues to refuse to tell the truth. This simply shows that their office under Celia Meza will continue with the same divisiveness and lack of candor that persisted under her predecessor.
“During the mediation which was scheduled to go from 930 to 5 p.m., city made a take it or leave it offer before one o’clock p.m. and they made the decision to walk away from mediation while we had another proposal on the table, they refused to further negotiate” and wasted taxpayer dollars.
“My attitude has nothing to do with why this case hasn’t settled. Conversely, the city’s legal department and the City of Chicago have attempted to bully Ms. Young and me…and that will not continue.”