Social worker Anjanette Young wasn’t allowed to put clothes on before she was handcuffed during a botched raid on Feb. 21, 2019. Chicago police officers descended on her home that night to carry out a faulty search warrant.
Now, more than two years later seven officers are recommended for discipline, including possible dismissals, according to a 63-page report released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability on Wednesday.
If you remember, Mayor Lori Lightfoot caught a lot of heat last year for attempting to block the release of body cam footage of the raid, even though she wasn’t mayor when it took place. Young had to sue to get the video of what happened to her.
Once the video was released, several officers were placed on administrative leave and Chicago’s top attorney Mark Flessner resigned. Mayor Lightfoot also ended up signing an executive order to make it easier for civilians to file complaints against officials and obtain video for their cases.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability launched an investigation into the botched raid earlier this year and in addition to recommending discipline for the seven officers involved, it found more than 100 allegations of misconduct against Chicago officers.
From the Associated Press:
The agency’s report recommended between one day and one year of suspension for multiple officers and “up to and including separation” from the department for some officers. Police Superintendent David Brown has already moved to terminate one sergeant.
The raid “reveals problems far more pervasive than any individual incident of officer misconduct,” the report said. It also noted “other concerns, including lack of adequate training and supervision surrounding the Department’s use of search warrants and the disproportionate impact of police actions on people of color.”
The botched raid, first reported by WBBM-TV, and the city’s handling of it prompted anger from clergy, lawmakers and civil rights activists who decried it as racist and an affront to a Black woman’s dignity.
“No search team member had received more than a few hours of warrant-related training since leaving the Police Academy,” COPA wrote in their 63 page report, according to the Chicago Tribune. “In fact, most of the officers stated they had learned about the warrant process through informal conversations with more experienced officers.”
One of the seven officers, Officer Ella French, was shot and killed while on duty last August. After her death, she was praised by Young’s attorneys at Saulter Law PC, for stopping to allow Young to get dressed in her bedroom during the raid, the Tribune notes. In its report, COPA only recommended a three-day suspension for French because she did not have her body camera on earlier in the night when she interacted with someone outside Young’s home.
From the Tribune:
The report said one rank-and-file officer on scene should be suspended for a minimum of six months, but indicated his infractions were serious enough for him to face dismissal. COPA alleged that the officer relied on an informant who supplied him with bad information on the location of a firearm, which was the purpose of the search warrant and led to officers’ wrongly raiding Young’s home.
The report also indicated that another sergeant did not adequately supervise the rank-and-file during the warrant approval process. For that sergeant, COPA recommended a penalty ranging from a one-year suspension to firing, though he was not present at the time of the raid.
Police Superintendent David Brown has already filed disciplinary charges against Sgt. Alex Wolinski who oversaw the raid. According to the Tribune, city records from Nov. 4 show that Wolinski is accused of violating 8 different police department rules including bringing discredit to the department, disrespecting a person, incompetency, overseeing the execution of a warrant without practicing the “knock and announce” rule, and more.
COPA recommended that Wolinski be suspended for up to one year or fired. “As the sergeant leading the search warrant execution, Sergeant Wolinski bears significant responsibility for the failure to comply with the knock and announce rule, as well as the maltreatment of (Young) throughout the incident,” the report said, according to the Tribune.
Wolinski’s disciplinary hearing won’t happen for several months from now and it is unclear if the other living officers will be disciplined.