Bodycam Footage Shows Chicago Police Handcuffing a Naked Black Woman During Botched Home Raid

Illustration for article titled Bodycam Footage Shows Chicago Police Handcuffing a Naked Black Woman During Botched Home Raid
Screenshot: CBS2

For nearly two years, Anjanette Young has been trying to get Chicago police to account for the harm caused to her during a botched raid, in which officers broke down her door with a battering ram, handcuffed her and turned over her home. The entire time, Young, who had just stepped out of the shower when police showed up, was naked—and repeatedly told police they had the wrong home.

Advertisement

On Tuesday, CBS 2 Chicago published bodycam video of the raid, which Young, who recently obtained the footage as part of an ongoing legal battle with CPD, shared with the news station.

The video shows Young shocked, standing naked in the middle of her living room, when police burst through her home just after 7 pm on February 21, 2019.

“It was so traumatic to hear the thing that was hitting the door,” Young told CBS Chicago as we watched footage of the raid play before her. “And it happened so fast, I didn’t have time to put on clothes.”

Young was handcuffed and stood exposed as she watched police search her home. One officer wrapped a short coat around her shoulders—which still left her front and everything under her upper back exposed. Another officer put a blanket on her, which kept sliding down because her hands were cuffed behind her back.

A licensed social worker who was living alone, a distraught Young asked officers repeatedly—43 times—why they were in her apartment, insisting they entered the wrong home. Again and again, she asked them to let her put her clothes on.

“I’ve been living here for four years and nobody lives here but me,” Young tells officers.

Advertisement

“I’m telling you this is wrong,” she continued. “I have nothing to do with whoever this person is you are looking for.”

Young was exposed for 13 minutes—“it felt like forever,” she told CBS 2—before a female officer finally walked Young back to her bedroom so she could get dressed. Once she was clothed, however, police handcuffed her again.

Advertisement

But while the mistake CPD made was clear to Young—and was later verified by a CBS 2 investigation—it appears the agency has yet to take responsibility for its mistake.

According to CBS 2, which culled through police and court records, the police officers were searching for a 23-year-old felon who reportedly had a firearm and ammunition in his possession. CPD conducted the raid off of an informant’s tip, but the informant gave them the wrong address. The unit police intended to raid was actually next door to Young. She had no connection to the suspect at all.

Advertisement

Snippets of conversation between officers during the raid in Young’s home hint at this. From CBS 2:

In one clip, officers in a squad car reviewed their notes and can be heard talking. CPD wouldn’t comment when CBS 2 asked what the conversation meant.

“It wasn’t initially approved or some crap,” one officer said.

“What does that mean?” the second officer asked.

“I have no idea,” the first officer said. “I mean, they told him it was approved, then I guess that person messed up on their end.”

Advertisement

A sergeant at Young’s home also can be shown asking the affiant officer—the person who obtained the warrant, as CBS 2 explains—to step outside to have a talk after it becomes clear that there are no weapons in the apartment.

When they stepped aside to talk, the officer turned their body camera off.

It wasn’t until 20 minutes after police barged through her door that police finally removed the handcuffs from Young’s wrists.

Advertisement

“I do apologize for bothering you tonight,” the sergeant told her. “I assure you that the city will be in contact with you tomorrow.”

The entire incident could have been avoided, CBS 2 points out. Police could have vetted the informant’s tip and confirmed the suspect’s whereabouts by tracking the electronic monitoring device he was wearing. Whatever explanations the police have for raiding the wrong home, however, Young has had to live with the consequences.

Advertisement

Young cried or fought tears while reflecting on the interactions she had with police that night, telling reporters, “It’s one of those moments where I felt I could have died...Like if I would have made one wrong move, it felt like they would have shot me. I truly believe they would have shot me.”

She no longer feels safe in her home, she told CBS 2. And as traumatic as it is for her to relive the incident, she has shared footage of her at her most anguished and vulnerable with the public because she hopes it may protect others by pushing cops to execute search warrants more carefully.

Advertisement

“That piece of paper gives them the right to, you know, that says you can do X, Y, Z based on what’s on that paper,” Young said. “So if you get it wrong, you are taking 100 percent control of someone else’s life and treating them in a bad way.”

As of late last month, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) said it was still investigating the 2019 raid.

Advertisement

Young has joined a number of other Chicago families that have filed lawsuits against CPD for conducting these harrowing raids in the wrong homes. Those affected by botched home raids are disproportionately Black and Latinx households.

“If this had been a young woman in Lincoln Park by herself in her home naked, a young white woman—let’s just be frank–if the reaction would have been the same? I don’t think it would have been,” Young’s attorney Keenan Saulter told CBS 2. “I think [officers] would have saw that woman, rightfully so, as someone who was vulnerable, someone who deserved protection, someone who deserved to have their dignity maintained. They viewed Ms. Young as less than human.”

Advertisement

Staff writer, The Root.

DISCUSSION

In ANY other career, a screwup of this magnitude would have everyone involved fired. Defund the police.