Officers refused to let Anjanette Young get dressed, instead handcuffing her while she repeatedly told them they were at the wrong address.
Anjanette Young is in line for a $2.9 million settlement for the botched police raid on her home that prompted the Chicago Police Department to change its policies and became an embarrassment for Mayor Lori Lightfoot after her administration tried to prevent footage of the incident from airing.
The City Council’s Finance Committee unanimously approved the settlement for Young Monday. It will appear on the full council’s agenda Wednesday.
“The city has never disputed Ms. Young suffered an indignity” during the raid, city corporation counsel Celia Meza said Monday, when she took the unusual step of presenting the settlement to the Finance Committee herself.
Young is alleging willful and wanton conduct by the city and officers, that there was a standard of duty of care officers violated during the raid. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability found some officers engaged in such conduct during the raid, which would make it tougher for the city to defend itself in court, Meza said.
Acting on a bad tip that a man with an illegal firearm lived in the apartment, 13 police raided Young’s home in February 2019, restraining her while she was getting ready for bed and forcing her to stand handcuffed and naked as officers searched her residence.
Officers would testify Young was completely naked for 16 seconds before first a jacket, then a blanket were draped around her shoulders, Meza said Monday.
It was 10 minutes before officers allowed Young to head to her bedroom to get dressed. If the case went to trial, a jury might award her $13 million — $1 million for each officer in the apartment — or $16 million — $1 million for each second she was completely undressed, she told aldermen.
Though Young has agreed to the settlement, Southwest Side Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th, said she should have gotten more, in part because the administration has “revictimized” her in its dealings with her since the incident came to light.
“To be at less than ($3 million), while good for taxpayers, I don’t think does justice for Ms. Young,” Lopez said.
The situation garnered national attention in December 2020 after Lightfoot’s administration sought an extraordinary order to stop CBS-2 from broadcasting video of the raid.
City lawyers initially requested sanctions against Young for sharing footage of the episode with media, though they later backpedaled, saying they only wanted sanctions against her lawyer. Eventually they dropped the request altogether.
As the scandal unfolded, Lightfoot falsely claimed she “had no knowledge” of the matter, which occurred before she took office, and that her administration hadn’t refused to give Young video of the raid.
But the mayor soon acknowledged that members of her staff had told her about the raid via emails in November 2019, as Ch. 2 was reporting on search warrants being served at the wrong addresses. She also said she had no recollection of the emails.
In an email sent on Nov. 11, 2019, former Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Susan Lee forwarded a summary of CBS’ reporting on the case to Lightfoot and said, “Please see below for a pretty bad wrongful raid coming out tomorrow.”
The summary said Young was handcuffed by police, and officers “allegedly left her standing for 40 minutes handcuffed and naked while all-male police officers search her apartment.” The email noted that Young had been asking for the body camera footage but hadn’t heard back from police.
Half an hour later, Lightfoot responded to the thread.
“I have a lot of questions about this one,” Lightfoot said. “Can we do a quick call about it? Is 10:00, ie 10 minutes from now possible?”
Lightfoot personally apologized to Young for the raid and vowed to resolve Young’s lawsuit against the city, but the mayor has been criticized as her administration continued playing hardball in defending the Police Department’s actions.
Legal documents filed by the city in June show Lightfoot officials downplayed one of the more horrifying elements of the bungled raid — how long Young was left exposed.
The city’s motion to dismiss the case sought to minimize the fact Young was handcuffed while naked and said she was “escorted to her bedroom to get fully dressed” about 10 minutes after officers determined their target wasn’t present.
“Though (police) attempted to cover her with a nearby blanket seconds after handcuffing her, the blanket did not stay fully closed in front,” city lawyers noted.
City lawyers also said in the motion that Young’s lawsuit “failed to establish a legal wrong.”
In handling Young’s case, Lightfoot has faced a challenging political and legal dynamic. She has wanted to show empathy toward Young while also overseeing a Law Department charged with mounting a defense.
Monday, at an unrelated news conference, Lightfoot said she’s “comfortable” with the settlement and that Young and her attorney Keenan Saulter are as well.
“I think it’s a good thing this matter is resolved,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot did not commit to releasing the report on Young’s case prepared by now-former inspector general Joe Ferguson, saying the city will “follow the law.”
Full inspector general reports can only be released under narrow circumstances, and it’s up to the city’s top lawyer to decide if the report will be made public.
But Lightfoot twice said she expects a report by outside law firm Jones Day to be released.
“They’re independent, they’ve done a thorough deep dive looking at a number of different places where this case was touched by city entities. Now, they didn’t deal with the underlying search warrant, that was really the subject of the work that COPA and the IG did, but looking at what was the process, what happened, mayor’s office, law department, COPA and the police department,” Lightfoot said, adding: “My expectation is that they will release something soon but you’ve got to talk to them about the time and place.”
Amid the uproar over the case, the Police Department revised its policy on raids to require a department member who is at the rank of lieutenant or above to be at the scene when the warrant is executed and for each member of the team serving the warrant to wear body cameras. A female member of the department also is required to be present during the service of the warrant.
The Finance Committee Monday also approved three other settlements totaling $2.16 million in three other lawsuits alleging police misconduct.