Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued an emotional apology late last week after Chicago media outlets revealed that the city had gone to court to prevent the release of a Chicago Police Department bodycam video from a botched police raid that took place in early 2019.
Lightfoot apologized personally to social worker Anjanette Young, who found herself naked and in handcuffs after CPD officers burst into her home a year ago.
A confidential police informant reportedly told Chicago cops that Young’s home was home to a known drug dealer and police, who allegedly failed to corroborate the report with a second independent source, executed a warrant against Young’s residence, catching the woman in the shower. Despite Young’s pleas for information, heard on the bodycam footage released last week, police forced Young to stand naked in her living room while they searched.
The drug dealer, it seems, actually lived next door.
Young tried to get a copy of bodycam footage of the incident through a Freedom of Information Act request, but the city of Chicago blocked her at every turn. When a federal judge demanded last week that the city release the video, Chicago city attorneys filed an emergency measure attempting to block the release and also to sanction Young.
“Young filed a FOIA request seeking a copy of the footage in November 2019, but the city denied her request. City officials also resisted turning the video over to Young as part of the lawsuit, until a judge said they had to under seal, according to the Law Department’s filing,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
“Lightfoot lawyers objected to providing Young with a copy of the recordings on the raid at her home because they believed it ‘was an attempt to provide the media with the body-worn camera to paint an inaccurate picture of what happened during the subject search warrant,'” the outlet noted. “City lawyers also filed a request to have Young sanctioned for allegedly violating a confidentiality order on the video.”
Lightfoot, who earlier claimed the incident predated her administration and laid the blame for the aggressive litigation at the feet of the city’s Law Department, reversed course late last week and apologized for the incident and the subsequent court battle.
“I want to tell Ms. Young (that) I am deeply sorry and troubled that her home was invaded, and that she had to face the humiliation and trauma that she suffered. That is just not right,” Lightfoot said. “It simply should not have happened. And I will make sure that there is full accountability for what took place.”
She did say she was “blindsided” by the Law Department’s strategy, however.
“Filing a motion against a media outlet to prevent something from being published is something that should rarely if ever happen,” Lightfoot said. “And had I been advised that this was in the works, I would have stopped it in its tracks.”
Chicago’s city government has a history of restricting access to potentially problematic videos. Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the city worked to keep bodycam footage of a police-involved shooting under wraps. That video showed teenager Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times by a CPD officer. That officer was later found guilty of murder.
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