The Chicago City Council has given final approval to a $2.9 million settlement for Anjanette Young, the victim of a botched 2019 police raid that had garnered national attention.
Young was naked and getting ready for bed when cops entered her home on a so-called “no knock” search warrant. A team of mostly male officers handcuffed her and didn’t allow her to get dressed for 10 minutes, attempting but failing to cover her with a blanket and jacket as they searched. Young repeatedly told police they had the wrong home.
Young has since advocated fiercely for herself, speaking publicly about the incident, suing the city, and pushing for the release of the body camera video of the wrongful raid.
“From the very beginning of this horrific ordeal, Ms. Young’s continued focus has been on obtaining transparency and accountability for every officer who was involved in this violation of her home and her body that occurred on February 21, 2019,” a statement from Young’s attorney, Keenan Saulter, reads.
“It is for this reason, that one year ago, Ms. Young made the difficult decision to allow the video images of this horrific incident to be broadcast around the world.”
In settling, the city’s law department said it’s more financially feasible to settle the case brought by Young than to proceed to court. Aldermen approved the settlement amount unanimously Wednesday.
“$2.9 million might seem like a lot, but it will never give Ms. Young back her dignity and respect, and the trust that she’s lost for the people that she loves and respects in this city,” said Ald. Jeanette Taylor, 20th Ward. “One of the things I remember her saying is that it wasn’t just about money. It was about change and policy. And so while we are settling with her and I am grateful for that, I hope that we hear her – and not hear her to answer, but hear her to listen.”
According to the statement from her attorney, Young “maintains that this accountability includes the strictest discipline be brought against each member of the Chicago Police Department who violated their training, the CPD General Orders and basic human decency.”
In a report earlier this year, the office that investigates police misconduct – the Civilian Office of Police Accountability – blamed the wrongful raid on poor policy, training and supervision. Investigators concluded the officer who got the warrant to search Young’s home repeatedly ignored evidence indicating he had the wrong address.
The agency has recommended lengthy suspensions or termination for the officer and the two sergeants, as well as shorter suspensions for another four officers. Police Superintendent David Brown has so far moved to fire just one sergeant involved.
The public took interest in the botched raid last year partly because the Lightfoot administration had fought hard to keep the body camera video hidden. The city denied open-records requests for the footage and sought a federal judge’s order to stop CBS 2 Chicago from airing it.
A report on the wrongful raid by Chicago’s Office of Inspector General has not yet been finalized, and despite promising transparency in the case, Lightfoot has not committed to releasing that report.
Mariah Woelfel covers Chicago city government at WBEZ. You can follow her on Twitter @MariahWoelfel.