A social worker seeks justice after being the victim of an unnecessary police raid.
Chicago’s City Council approved, by a vote of 48 to 0, a $2.9 million settlement for Anjanette Young, a 51-year-old Chicago woman and social worker who was forcibly arrested while standing naked in front of officers February 2019. They had entered her apartment on a search warrant. using a battering ram. Young, a Black woman, yelled at the male officers, mostly white, that they have entered the wrong home trying to search for a weapon. That individual hadn’t lived in her unit for four years.
Alderwoman Jeanette B. Taylor of Chicago’s 20th Ward said, “2.9 million may seem like a lot, but it will never give Ms. Young back her dignity and respect and the trust that she’s lost. Let’s do something different about how we do house raids and how we treat women, how we treat young people.”
Raymond Lopez, an alderman on the finance committee, said, “My heart of hearts, tell me that this is insufficient. I believe that we owed her more for the horrible way in which she was treated that day.”
The city had initially asked that the lawsuits, filed in both state and federal courts, be dismissed and attempted to ensure that body cam footage of the incident remain unreleased. However, Young was able to obtain the footage and it was broadcasted on a television newscast. This allowed the case to gain nationwide attention, and the police department admitted responding officers had misused force.
“Knowing that my words will not change what happened to you and your family almost two years ago, I nonetheless say I am sorry,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “If you can hear that my voice is hoarse, it is because I have been unsparing in my comments to all involved in this colossal mess.”
David O. Brown, the superintendent of the department, recommended that the sergeant who initiated the raid be terminated, and others were recommended for suspensions. Some are appealing.
Young said she lost her job afterwards while being treated for depression and PTSD. “My life before was just a quiet life,” she said. “I lived a very quiet and simple life, and now my life has been completely turned upside down. I can’t sleep at night.”
“Ms. Young still wants the strictest discipline for the officers who violated their training, the department’s general orders and basic human decency in their interactions with her,” according to a statement released by Saulter Law. “No amount of money could erase what Ms. Young has suffered. No amount of money could provide Ms. Young with what she truly wants, which is to never have been placed in this situation in the first place.”
Young is also pushing to enact multiple reforms, along with the city, including a ban on no-knock warrants and ensuring officers don’t point weapons at children. She would also like to make sure that law enforcement officers cannot obtain search warrants based solely on tips from informants. In her case, the handgun belonged to a man who, according to a confidential informant, lived at Young’s address.