Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has apologized to a social worker who was handcuffed while naked after police executing a search warrant broke into her apartment with a ram last year.
Officers broke down the door to Anjanette Young’s apartment on February 21, 2019, as she was getting ready for bed, then forced her to remain naked for more than 40 minutes as she told them that they had the wrong person, according to a federal lawsuit.
“Knowing that my words will not change what happened to you and your family almost two years ago, I still say I’m sorry,” Mayor Lightfoot said at a press conference on Wednesday. “If you can hear my voice hoarse, it’s because I have spared no comments in all those involved in this colossal mess.
She added: “I will make sure there is full responsibility for what happened.”
Police declined to comment on Thursday, citing an investigation by the city’s Police Civil Accountability Office.
According to Ms. Young’s lawsuit, police obtained a search warrant for a first-floor apartment on the west side of Chicago. They were looking for a black semi-automatic handgun and ammunition belonging to a suspect who, according to a confidential informant, lived at Ms. Young’s address, the lawsuit said.
The suspect, however, “hadn’t lived there for several years,” according to the lawsuit. Ms Young had lived in the apartment for four years and did not know the suspect, the lawsuit says.
Police did not try to verify she had the correct address and relied entirely on the word of the confidential informant, according to the lawsuit.
Footage of the raid, which was obtained by CBS 2 in Chicago, shows several officers in tactical gear, their weapons drawn, breaking into the house and shouting “search warrant.” The footage, which comes from police corps cameras, shows Ms. Young, who was naked, screaming and crying in her living room as officers ask her if there is a gun in the house. All of the officers were male, according to Ms. Young’s lawsuit.
“I am a social worker,” she says. “I respect the law.”
Ms. Young continues to yell at the police that they had the wrong house.
“You don’t have to shout,” said one of the officers.
“Don’t I have to shout?” It’s ridiculous, ”Ms. Young said, using a curse. “You handcuffed me. I’m naked and you brought my house in. “
Some officers tried to cover her with a blanket, but she continued to slip off her shoulders because her hands were tied behind her back. Eventually, one of the officers kept the blanket in place.
Former prosecutor Mayor Lightfoot was the first black woman and the first lesbian to win the post when she was elected in April 2019. During the campaign, she vowed to overhaul the police department and walked away. presented as an antidote to former mayor Rahm Emanuel, who in 2015 came under heavy criticism for delaying the release of video footage showing a white officer shooting a black teenager, Laquan McDonald.
Mayor Lightfoot on Wednesday said he was “appalled” by video of the raid on Ms Young’s apartment, which she said she watched with his wife.
“As black women, we put ourselves in her shoes,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Our houses must be sacrosanct.”
City attorneys on Monday called on the judge assigned to Ms. Young’s case, John J. Tharp Jr., to prevent CBS 2 from showing the footage. They argued that its airing would violate a confidentiality order that Judge Tharp had put in place and “elicit a reactionary backlash, potentially poisoning public opinion on the case.”
Judge Tharp dismissed their request, citing that CBS 2 was not part of the original complaint and was not bound by confidentiality orders.
The story aired later on Monday.
Mayor Lightfoot said she learned of the raid when it was reported by media and lawyers in her administration tried to prevent the body camera footage from being released.
“I made it very clear to the company’s legal counsel that I will not be blinded by issues like this,” she said.
Mayor Lightfoot said she would not have allowed city lawyers to try to stop a news organization from reporting a story.
“This is not how we operate,” she says.
City lawyers and agents did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Mayor Lightfoot said if Ms Young consents, she will ask the police to use the video of her detention as a training tool.
Ms Young told reporters on Wednesday that she was frustrated that the city had not held any of the officers involved to account.
“They didn’t serve me,” she says. “They didn’t protect me. They were laughing at me.
Mayor Lightfoot did not directly respond to whether anyone would be fired.
“I think we have to get to the bottom of this,” she said. “I was obviously not happy with the way it was handled.”
Ms Young invoked the name of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in a botched raid on her apartment in Louisville, Ky., In March. She asked Mayor Lightfoot to visit her church and tell the congregation what she plans to do to prevent a similar episode from happening again in the future.
“I voted for you. I told my friends to vote for you, ”she said. “I believed in you as a black woman running for mayor of the city of Chicago.”