One day after the Chicago City Council unanimously approved a $2.9 million dollar settlement for Anjanette Young, an outside probe found that Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not intentionally cover up details related to the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) wrongful raid at Young’s home in 2019. 

Lightfoot tapped Jones Day law firm to conduct an outside investigation into the raid. The law firm released its report today. 

“While my words cannot change what happened to Ms. Young, it is my sincere hope the settlement award and the release of the Jones Day report brings some measure of peace to her, her family, her community, and our city,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said today in a written statement. 

Here is the link to the Jones Day report

On Wednesday (Dec. 15), the Chicago City Council unanimously approved a $2.9 million dollar settlement for Anjanette Young, a Black social worker whose home was falsely raided by Chicago police officers nearly three years ago.

“$2.9 million may seem like a lot, but it will never give Ms. Young back her dignity and respect and the trust that she’s lost for the people that she loves and respects in this city,” Ald. Jeanette Taylor said during Wednesday’s City Council meeting. “Ms. Young is a Black woman who was doing what was right and, despite that, she still has this that she will carry around for the rest of her life.”

Young’s settlement is now added to the already nearly $67 million in Chicago Police Department (CPD) misconduct settlements made in 2021, according to an ABC Chicago news report. Between 2009 and 2019, the city has paid more than $524 million to settle lawsuits against the police, which taxpayers fund.   

On Feb. 21, 2019, Young, then 49, was getting undressed and preparing for bed after work when CPD officers burst into her home with guns drawn. 

CPD went to Young’s home near the West Loop to execute a search warrant, acting on a tip from an informant. But police were at the wrong house, according to a 2019 CBS Chicago news report.

On Dec. 14, 2020, CBS Chicago was the first news outlet to broadcast police body-cam video showing a number of police officers busting into Young’s home with their guns pointed at her. During a December 2020 interview with CBS Chicago, Young said she didn’t have time to put on clothes or answer the door before the officers rushed into her home. 

Despite Young’s repeated pleas that the officers had the wrong address, police continued to search her home while she was handcuffed and naked in a room full of male officers. The police officers initially ignored her requests for clothing.  

In February 2021, Young filed a federal lawsuit against the city and police department, saying that the incident left her emotionally scarred and traumatized. 

After the CBS Chicago news video went viral, Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a public apology, a pivot from her earlier statements on Dec. 15, 2020 about Young’s case, where she claimed to have not been aware of the raid until December 2020. Instead, it was revealed that she knew about the incident back on Nov. 11, 2019

Additionally, since the CBS Chicago video, there’s been multiple high-profile city resignations and an attempt for reform through a proposed ordinance — named after Young — that’s being backed by Black women in Chicago City Council’s Progressive Caucus.

Here are five takeaways from Young’s traumatizing ordeal.

1. Mayor Lightfoot and her administration tried to cover up the botched CPD raid by attempting to block the release of police body camera footage.

Last year, Lightfoot’s administration publicly released emails in an effort of transparency following public scrutiny of the administration’s handling of Young’s case. Those internal emails showed that Lightfoot knew about the incident in November 2019, although she initially said she didn’t become aware of the raid until December 2020 — the same month CBS Chicago aired video of the raid.

Also, The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) tried to keep Young from obtaining videos of the raid. COPA, a civilian oversight agency for CPD, blocked Young’s “access to videos by opening an investigation into the raid the same day Young was supposed to be provided the videos,” according to a Block Club Chicago news report.  For almost two years, Young tried to get footage of the incident. Both Young and CBS Chicago filed FOIA requests for the video but were denied. In 2020, a judge forced CPD to release the video to Young as a part of her lawsuit against the city CPD. 

In December 2020, Lightfoot’s administration also filed a motion in court to block CBS Chicago from airing the video after the news outlet obtained video of the raid. Ultimately, a judge denied the city’s motion, and CBS Chicago aired the video on Dec. 14, 2020.

On Dec. 16, one day after the City Council approved a $2.9 settlement for Young, former federal judge Ann Claire Williams released her findings on the raid. In December 2020, Lightfoot hired Williams and her law firm, Jones Day, to conduct an outside investigation into the raid. According to a  WTTW news report, Williams said the mayor did not intentionally cover-up information about the handling of the raid.

RELATED STORY

2. Two officials resigned from their high-ranking city positions.

After the fallout from Young’s case, Mark Flessner resigned from his position as corporation counsel for Chicago in December 2020. Celia Meza replaced Flessner on an interim basis. In June 2021, the Chicago City Council officially confirmed Meza’s position. She is the first Latinx woman to serve as Chicago’s top attorney. 

Additionally, Sydney Roberts, the head of COPA, resigned in May 2021. According to a CBS Chicago news report, Lightfoot said: “she did not ask for Roberts’ resignation but said she was disappointed with how the agency has responded, namely in the Anjanette Young wrong raid case and the issue of numerous wrong raids carried out by CPD.”

3. Multiple CPD officers are disciplined.

In November, COPA publicly released a report detailing its findings and recommendations. The agency found that the botched raid at Young’s home raised nearly 100 allegations of misconduct against 15 officers involved in the incident. The agency recommended that multiple officers be disciplined through suspensions or terminations.

COPA recommended that one officer, Alain Aporongao, be suspended, for a minimum of 180 days, or terminated from CPD. According to COPA’s report, Arporongo was the “most culpable for the harm” done to Young. He obtained the search warrant but failed to investigate and corroborate specific information that was told to him by an informant.

In addition, COPA recommended two sergeants —Alex Wolinski and Cory Petracco — be suspended, for a minimum of 180 days, or possibly fired. Petracco wasn’t at the raid but was Aporongao’s supervisor, according to a CBS Chicago news report

Wolinski is accused of violating multiple rules in connection to the incident. According to CPD documents, Wolinski approved the execution of a search warrant for Young’s home without adhering to the department’s “Knock and Announce Rule,” failed to intervene in the “disrespectful treatment” of Young, and failed to “promptly” give her a copy of the search warrant, among other things.   

In November 2021, CPD Supt. David Brown recommended to the Chicago Police Board that Wolinski be fired. According to NBC Chicago, Wolinski will appear before the Chicago Police Board on the charges.

According to WTTW, on Dec. 21, 2020, Brown placed all 12 officers involved in the raid on desk duty.

RELATED STORY

4. Slain CPD Officer Ella French was at Young’s home.

CPD Officer Ella French, who was killed in August 2021 during a traffic stop, was one of the officers on the scene at Young’s home in 2019. According to Block Club Chicago, COPA praised French for being one of the few officers who tried to help Young protect her dignity by taking her to a discreet area where she can put on some clothing.

Although French was not part of the raid, she arrived afterwards to provide security. Along with other officers, she stopped and searched a man who was parked behind Young’s home. Eventually, they learned the man was not involved in the investigation, Block Club Chicago reported. 

However, COPA recommended a three-day suspension for French because she did not turn on her body camera, or properly submit an investigatory stop report after stopping the man outside Young’s home.

5. Calls for reform after the Anjanette Young incident.

In February 2021, Lightfoot signed an executive order making changes to how CPD obtains and serves search warrants to “prevent wrong raids and ensure that search warrants are carried out with a respect for human dignity, and guarantee accountability and transparency following wrong raids,” she said in a written statement.

Five Black Chicago alderwomen also pushed for systemic changes in the wake of Young’s case. Alds. Maria Hadden (49th), Sophia King (4th), Leslie Hairston (5th), Jeanette Taylor (20th), and Stephanie Coleman (16th) introduced an ordinance, the Anjanette Young Ordinance, to the city council public safety committee in February. The measure would ban no-knock warrants and require that officers wait at least 30 seconds after they knock before entering a home. It would also require that officers use “tactics that are the least intrusive to people’s home, property and person and least harmful to people’s physical and emotional health,” according to text from the ordinance. 

The ordinance has not yet been called for a vote.

is a multimedia producer for The TRiiBE.