Emails show Chicago mayor knew of ‘bad’ botched raid in November 2019

on Dec31
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Recently released emails show Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot first learned in November 2019 of a “pretty bad wrongful raid” at the home of a Black woman who said she was not allowed to put on clothes before police handcuffed her.

Chicago city leaders on Wednesday released more than 150 emails, as well as other documents, photos and police body camera footage in connection with the botched February 2019 raid at Anjanette Young’s home.  

More than 150 pages of emails between city aides contradict Lightfoot’s initial claim that she didn’t know about the raid until earlier this month when Chicago’s WBBM-TV first aired police footage. The incident and the city’s response prompted nationwide criticism, the ouster of the city’s top attorney, and led to an independent investigation.

Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a science initiative event at the University of Chicago in Chicago. She unveiled a 10-day preparedness plan for Election Day on Friday. (REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski)

Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a science initiative event at the University of Chicago in Chicago. She unveiled a 10-day preparedness plan for Election Day on Friday. (REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski)
((REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski))

Lightfoot, who won office in April 2019, later said she was informed by staff in November 2019 of emails, but didn’t recall them.

“Mayor please see below for pretty bad wrongful raid coming out tomorrow,” says a Nov. 11, 2019 email from Susan Lee, a former deputy mayor for public safety. The email included a summary of the incident where Young was “allegedly left standing for 40 minutes handcuffed and naked while all-male” police officers searched the apartment.

Lightfoot responded about 30 minutes later: “I have a lot of questions about this one. Can we do a quick call about it?”

Lightfoot said in a statement Thursday that she “won’t rest until we can be sure that what happened to Ms. Young never happens again.” 

“While it’s clear that I focused my response to this information on the policy change we unquestionably needed, I should have paused to ask more questions about Ms. Young’s well-being and the video itself,” she said in a statement emailed to Fox News. “I am sorry that I didn’t do that then, and I’m committed to doing all that I can now to righting the wrongs Ms. Young experienced.”

The raid has become a major issue for Lightfoot’s credibility. Police accountability and reform were among her top campaign platforms. A former federal prosecutor, Lightfoot never held public office, something that appealed to many voters after the tenure of former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff and congressman.

Young, a social worker, was seen in a video released earlier this month naked, being handcuffed by police after officers raided the wrong home in February 2019. First reported by Chicago’s WBBM-TV, the video shows Young distraught and telling officers multiple times that they had the wrong address.  

Also on Wednesday, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) released nearly two dozen clips from body camera footage, 15 documents, two dash-cam videos and several photographs from or related to the night of the raid at Young’s home. Police previously released footage from one of the officer’s body cameras.

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“Neither recording includes any footage of Ms. Young or the interior of Ms. Young’s residence, but the public should still be able to review this footage,” CPD Superintendent David Brown said in an emailed statement.

“As we work to revise and strengthen our search warrant policies, transparency and community engagement are paramount. It is important to emphasize, however, that even the most perfect search warrant policy without human decency is flawed,” Brown’s statement continued. “We must ensure that decency, dignity, accountability, and transparency are central to our culture as well as our policies and training as we seek to turn the page on decades of built-up mistrust.”

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Brown said the department is fully cooperating with the investigation and is working to “ensure complete transparency.”

Lightfoot has said she wants to meet with Young in person, but plans for an in-person meeting earlier this week were scrapped because of disagreements over how to proceed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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