Stories like this one should make even the most ardent police supporters very angry. The Chicago Police Department for two years covered up a crime they committed against an innocent, naked woman. It took a lawsuit to make them cough up public records.
It’s very hard to support the police when whole departments conspire to hide wrongdoing instead of facing the music and dealing with it. CBS Chicago reports.
Last year, Anjanette Young filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the video to show the public what happened to her that day. CBS 2 also filed a request for the video. But the Chicago Police Department denied the requests.
Young recently obtained the footage after a court forced CPD to turn it over as part of her lawsuit against police.
“I feel like they didn’t want us to have this video because they knew how bad it was,” Young said. “They knew they had done something wrong. They knew that the way they treated me was not right.”
Hours before the TV version of this report broadcast, the city’s lawyers attempted to stop CBS 2 from airing the video by filing an emergency motion in federal court.
The video reveals on Feb. 21, 2019, nine body cameras rolled as a group of male officers entered her home at 7 p.m. Not long before, the licensed social worker finished her shift at the hospital and had undressed in her bedroom.
That’s when she said she heard a loud, pounding noise.
Outside, officers repeatedly struck her door with a battering ram. From various angles, the video captured the moments they broke down the door and burst through her home.
“It was so traumatic to hear the thing that was hitting the door,” Young said, as she watched the video. “And it happened so fast, I didn’t have time to put on clothes.”
As they rushed inside with guns drawn, officers yelled, “Police search warrant,” and “Hands up, hands up, hands up.” Seconds later, Young could be seen in the living room, shocked and completely naked, with her hands up.
“There were big guns,” Young remembered. “Guns with lights and scopes on them. And they were yelling at me, you know, put your hands up, put your hands up.”
Young looked terrified and confused as she watched officers search the home. An officer put her hands behind her back and handcuffed her as she stood naked.
Young repeatedly told the officers they had the wrong address but they wouldn’t listen to her. The way they treated her should be considered sexual assault and the officers involved in this horror show should face jail time. There’s no excuse for this. It’s evil.
With her hands bound behind her back, the video shows an officer wrapped a short coat around her shoulders. But the coat only covered her shoulders and upper back – leaving her front completely exposed as she stood against the wall. Officers stood around her home – in the kitchen, the living room and the hallways – while she remained naked.
“It felt like forever to me,” she said. “It felt like forever.”
CBS Chicago did an excellent job piecing together this epic fail.
Police did have bad information, CBS 2 Investigators uncovered, and they failed to do basic checks to confirm whether they had the correct address before getting the search warrant approved.
According to CPD’s complaint for search warrant, one day before the raid, a confidential informant told the affiant – or lead officer on the raid – that he recently saw a 23-year-old man who was a known felon with gun and ammunition.
The document said the officer found a photo of the suspect in a police database and showed it to the informant, who confirmed it was him. The officer then drove the informant to the address where the informant claimed the suspect lived.
Despite no evidence in the complaint that police made efforts to independently verify the informant’s tip, such as conducting any surveillance or additional checks as required by policy, the search warrant was approved by an assistant state’s attorney and a judge.
But CBS 2 quickly found, through police and court records, the informant gave police the wrong address. The 23-year-old suspect police were looking for actually lived in the unit next door to Young at the time of the raid and had no connection to her.
CBS 2 also found police could have easily tracked the suspect’s location and where he really lived because at the time of the raid, he was wearing an electronic monitoring device.
Sloppy and lazy police work led to this disaster. The refusal to release public information under the law should be a jailable offense for any public official who participates in hiding the truth to avoid scrutiny. FOIA laws are far too lenient. Violating them merely leads to fines that government offices pay with public funds. How is that a deterrent?
Any public official who breaks FOIA laws should be prosecuted. That would stop it. I have personal experience with FOIA shenanigans in Illinois and public officials who flout the law until you sue them. I had to sue a public library for the same issue, which you can read about in my book Shut Up! The Bizarre War One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment. FOIA abuse is rampant all over the country and no one has any desire to make it stop.
Until police stop behaving like jackbooted thugs, their reputations will remain in the gutter. That’s unfortunate for the law-abiding police around the country. The City of Chicago should pay a huge price for this lawlessness. But unfortunately, they’ll probably only pay out millions of public funds and continue behaving however they want.