In 2019, a Black social worker was in her home when Chicago police burst through the door and handcuffed her while she was naked in a raid meant for another apartment in her complex. Now, Anjanette Young is calling for justice after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s law department tried to prevent CBS Chicago from airing the footage nearly two years later.
It is the job of police “to serve and protect,” Young said Wednesday during a news conference. “Well, they didn’t do that for me. They didn’t care about me. So, yes, I would ask for accountability if you ask me what do I want from this.”
Video of the incident shows Young telling officers at least 43 times they had the wrong apartment. But police continued to search Young’s house while she was exposed, CBS Chicago reported. While an officer did wrap a short coat around Young, her front remained open. Police only fully covered her two minutes after they entered the apartment, giving her a blanket that continued to slide down.
Young said she had just returned home from work when the cops broke in. “It happened so fast, I didn’t have time to put on clothes,” she told CBS Chicago.
The Chicago Police Department said the raid occurred after an informant said a felon in the apartment had a handgun. The real target of the raid was in the same complex as Young, but his exact location should have been easy to determine since he was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet at the time.
“If I would have made one wrong move it felt like they would have shot me,” said Young while rewatching the video of her ordeal.
Police stayed in Young’s apartment for 20 minutes before apologizing to her and telling her “we believe your story.”
In 2019, Young filed a Freedom of Information Act request to gain access to the video, but was denied by the Chicago Police Department. The footage was only shared with her after a court required it as part of her lawsuit against the department. Even after the video was in her possession, the department filed an emergency motion in federal court to stop CBS Chicago from airing the footage, a move that failed.
Young said she is not aware if the officers have received disciplinary action. Instead, she is demanding action from the CPD and Lightfoot. Lightfoot said she was “blindsided” by her law department’s actions.
“Ms. Young’s dignity, that she and all of us deserve, was taken from her in those moments, and that is simply inexcusable,” she added.
When asked Tuesday why her administration attempted to stop CBS Chicago from airing the footage, Lightfoot did not provide an answer, but stated the raid was “not something that happened on my watch,” as it had occurred before she took office. However, as CBS Chicago points out, Lightfoot was in office when CPD denied requests for the video by both the news outlet and Young.
In a statement to the media, Keenan Saulter, Young’s attorney, called her treatment an example of the double nature Black citizens are exposed to with police encounters. “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.”
Young’s ordeal is just one of many examples of Chicago police acting on bad or faulty tips without double-checking information. While Lightfoot pointed to new search warrant policies implemented by the CPD since the raid, including mandatory pre-checks and additional supervisors, Young still believes the police department has a long way to go, and is traumatizing Black Chicagoans in the process.
“The work is warranted – they need to do the work. But they need to do it right,” she said. “They can’t just callously do it and leave people’s lives in ruins because they got it wrong.”