Update (April 30, 2020): The Civilian Office of Police Accountability of Chicago (COPA) has concluded a 16-month investigation into a Feb. 21, 2019, police raid where officers wrongfully entered the home of a naked social worker to execute a warrant for someone else.
COPA discovered that the target of the raid actually lived next door, and was wearing an electronic monitoring device that police had the capacity to track, according to CBS News reports.
"The raid of Ms. [Anjanette] Young's home was truly painful to watch," COPA Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts said. "Given the significance of this investigation, COPA assigned this case to a uniquely constructed 10 member team to evaluate the critical Fourth Amendment issues raised in this complaint. While we cannot fully heal the pain Ms. Young experienced on that day and ever since, we hope that our investigation and recommendations will enable the healing process."
As Blavity previously reported, Anjanette Young was handcuffed and naked in front of several male officers for nearly 20 minutes. In the face of public outcry, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her officials filed an emergency motion in federal court seeking to prohibit news stations from airing body camera footage of the incident. Despite the mayor’s last-ditch attempt, a judge declined her request and the video was circulated in December 2020.
The police accountability office revealed that its investigation included more than 30 interviews, hundreds of pages of evidence and hours of video footage that uncovered "significant deficiencies" in the internal workings of the Chicago Police Department and its training on serving warrants.
A COPA spokesperson said the investigation also uncovered almost 100 allegations of misconduct as the result of the actions of more than 10 officers.
While conducting the lengthy investigation, COPA wrote three letters to the police department expressing its concerns about training and search warrant policies. In a statement on Thursday, it urged the CPD to take its concerns, findings and recommendations seriously in addressing the problem.
A complete report will be published following the city police superintendent’s review and the officers associated with the incident have been served with any resulting charges.
On Thursday, Young said that she is glad that the process of justice is being carried out, despite her having to wait months.
"I am annoyed, you know, that it took as long as it did," she said. "It's hurtful."
Original (December 15, 2020): Outrage is growing across Chicago after a newly released video from CBS2 shows police violently raiding the home of a Black social worker, who was forced to talk to male police officers while naked and handcuffed.
The police officers had the wrong address and may not have even had an approved warrant, but they left Anjanette Young handcuffed and naked in front of multiple male officers for more than 20 minutes while shouting at her for information.
Despite the horror of the situation, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her officials filed an emergency motion in federal court that sought to stop CBS2 from releasing the bodycam video of the incident. But a judge declined their request and the video aired on Monday evening.
Young and CBS2 filed separate Freedom of Information Act requests that were denied by the Chicago Police Department, although Young was able to obtain the video through her lawsuit against the city.
“I feel like they didn’t want us to have this video because they knew how bad it was. They knew they had done something wrong. They knew that the way they treated me was not right,” Young said.
In an interview, Young spoke to CBS2 about the trauma she endured during the incident and the injustice of what the police put her through. She told reporters that she had just come home after finishing her shift as a social worker at a local hospital on Feb. 21, 2019. She got in around 7 p.m. and took a shower, only to hear loud banging on her door.
Bodycam video shows at least nine officers using battering rams and crowbars to break down Young's door, and the officers flood into her apartment with huge guns raised and pointed at her as she stood dripping wet and naked.
“It was so traumatic to hear the thing that was hitting the door. And it happened so fast, I didn’t have time to put on clothes. There were big guns. Guns with lights and scopes on them. And they were yelling at me, you know, 'put your hands up, put your hands up,'” Young said as she reviewed the video with reporters from CBS2.
“It’s one of those moments where I felt I could have died that night. 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 added.
In the video, Young repeatedly asks the officers why they are in her apartment and tells them they have the wrong place, but they do not listen to her, and instead continue rifling through her home and handcuffing her as she stood naked.
Halfway through the video, one officer puts a blanket over her but because she is handcuffed, she is not able to secure it so it covers her body. She was left like this for more than 15 minutes before a female officer arrived, took her to a back room, and allowed her to put clothes on. The female officer put the handcuffs back on Young.
“They just threw something over me, and my hands are behind me and I’m handcuffed. So there’s no way for me to secure the blanket around me,” Young told CBS2.
"That piece of paper [search warrant] gives them the right to, you know, that says you can do X, Y, Z based on what’s on that paper. So if you get it wrong, you are taking 100 percent control of someone else’s life and treating them in a bad way,” she added.
The case was spotlighted last November but has resurfaced now that video of the incident not only shows the horrifying way Young was treated but also shows officers admitting they had the wrong house and did not have official approval for the raid.
As CBS2 and other news outlets noted, the Chicago police have a very long history of raiding the wrong homes. In July, a lengthy story was done uncovering many of the erroneous raids conducted that have left people and children traumatized for the rest of their lives.
“They are adding trauma to people’s lives that will be with them the rest of their lives. Children have to grow up with that for the rest of their lives. The system is broken,” Young said.
Throughout the video of the raid on her home, Young tells the officers they have the wrong house at least 43 times while crying and begging the officers to let her put on clothes.
“You’ve got the wrong house, you’ve got the wrong house, you’ve got the wrong house. No, no one else lives here. Oh my God, this cannot be right. How is this legal,” Young asked. "Who are you looking for? I’ve been living here for four years and nobody lives here but me. I’m telling you this is wrong. I have nothing to do with whoever this person is you are looking for.”
The officers, who still had guns in their hands despite Young being naked and alone, repeatedly yelled at her to stop shouting and told her to calm down, even as she stood there defenseless in a room full of heavily-armed men.
“I don’t have to shout? This is f**king ridiculous. You’ve got me in handcuffs. I’m naked, and you kicked my house in. I keep telling you, you’ve got the wrong place,” she said in the video. “There’s no gun in this place… No, no, no. I am a social worker… I’ve been a social worker for 20 years. I follow the law. I don’t get in trouble for anything. I don’t do illegal stuff. I’m not that person. You’ve got the wrong information.”
In their investigation of the case, CBS2 discovered several alarming mistakes made by officers throughout the Chicago police chain of command.
Officers based the raid on information provided by an informant. They never verified the information and CBS2 was able to easily figure out that the informant had given the police the wrong address. The suspect they were looking for lived across the street from Young and already had an electronic monitor bracelet on his ankle, meaning police knew his location.
Even more questions have been raised after two officers are seen in the video saying the warrant may not have actually been approved by an assistant state’s attorney and a judge. The Chicago Police Department refused to answer questions about the clip where an officer admits that the warrant was not approved.
“It wasn’t initially approved or some crap,” an officer said after leaving Young's apartment and going to a squad car.
“What does that mean,” another officer asked.
“I have no idea. I mean, they told him it was approved, then I guess that person messed up on their end,” the first officer said before throwing the warrant on the car's dashboard.
The lead officer later turned off his bodycam when discussing what to do next once they realized they had the wrong home. The same cop apologized to Young and promised to fix her door. Once they realized they had broken it so badly that it could not be fixed, they used an ironing board to keep it closed.
Young said she has been permanently traumatized from the situation and will never again feel safe in her home. She told CBS2 that she has tried to get help from people at her church but now wants everyone to know about what happened to her.
Young's lawyer, Keenan Saulter, did not hold back in his interview with CBS2, bashing the Chicago police department for not performing even basic investigations before disrupting people's lives and said the incident likely wouldn't have played out the same way if Young was a white woman.
He has filed a lawsuit against the city on her behalf.
“I want it to be known how they treated me. What man in there doesn’t have a mom, or a sister, or a daughter, and could have compassion for a woman who’s standing here naked,” Young said in an interview in 2019.
“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,” Saulter said in an interview. “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.”
The Chicago Police Department would not tell CBS2 whether anyone had faced any consequences for the botched raid. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability said it was still investigating the case despite having more than a year to look into what happened.