Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot revealed Tuesday that she would enlist the help of former federal judge Anne Claire Williams to investigate the handling of the Anjanette Young case.
As we’ve been reporting here at The Root, the 2019 botched police raid of Young’s home has recently gained national attention and backlash due largely in part to the long-awaited and long-fought for release of police bodycam footage that aired on Chicago station CBS 2 last week.
Per the Chicago Tribune, several Chicago aldermen are calling on Lightfoot to re-evaluate how search warrants like the one used in Young’s case are served and to enact some serious changes that address the underlying faults of a system that continues to disenfranchise those in the Black and Latinx community. In a joint hearing with the council’s public safety and human relations committees, Alderman Jason Ervin, chairman of the council’s Black Caucus said, “The incident that happened with, not only Anjanette Young, but the other incidents around this issue of warrants and wrong addresses and the violation of citizens’ of our communities rights is the reason that we’re all here today.”
In a statement sent to the alderman, Lightfoot assured the councilmembers that Williams’ leading of the investigation would include a thorough look into how situations like Young’s are able to happen in the first place. “Her mandate will include every relevant department, including the Mayor’s office,” Lightfoot said in the letter. “We want a review of the procedures and processes in place that allowed this incident and subsequent actions to unfold as they did.” Police Superintendent David Brown also assured councilmembers that changes within the department would be made as well.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Brown said the department will include a human rights statement as part of its search warrant policy, will restrict which teams within the department can serve warrants, and require that supervisors at the rank of deputy chief or above approve them.
In cases where police rely on information from paid informants to justify search warrants, the department also will seek additional corroboration, Brown said.
Though the raid on Young’s home happened before Mayor Lightfoot was elected, her administration has been having to deal with the fallout for over a week now. Earlier this week, Chicago’s top attorney Mark Flessner resigned amid growing outrage of his mishandling of the case. And just last week, Lightfoot found herself in hot water, apologizing for the Law Department previous attempts in court to try to block CBS from airing the body camera footage. Lightfoot has since acknowledged the part she played in damaging the trust between her constituents and the Department:
“There’s a lot of trust that’s been breached, and I know there’s a lot of trust in me that’s been breached, and I have a responsibility to build back that trust.”
More from the Chicago Tribune:
Lightfoot announced Monday that 12 police officers who took part in the raid had been placed on desk duty as COPA continues to investigate. Brown reassigned the officers nearly two years after the raid, only after it erupted into a full-blown scandal.
A Police Department spokesman on Monday declined to explain the timing of the reassignments or point to the department policy used to justify it, on the grounds that it’s a personnel matter.
Brown on Tuesday told aldermen he moved them to desk duty because he thought doing so was appropriate while the investigation continues.
Hopefully now with this outside investigation, Anjanette Young can finally get the justice she’s rightfully owed.