A Chicago City Council committee voted Thursday to reject legislation introduced in response to a botched 2019 police raid of a Black woman that prompted widespread outrage.
The Anjanette Young Ordinance — named after the social worker who was forced to stand handcuffed and naked in her home while Chicago police officers wrongly searched her home — was up before the council’s Public Safety committee. Far North Side Ald. Maria Hadden, 49th, and others first presented it to the body in February 2021, but it never garnered a vote as Mayor Lori Lightfoot argued such reforms should be reflected within police department directives, not codified in law.
The vote failed 10-4. However, Vice Chairman Harry Osterman said the item will “stay in committee,” allowing a potential vote on another day.
“There’s … the real human cost, right, of having your door busted, of having heavily armed police officers point guns at you and your children,” Hadden said. “In Ms. Young’s experience, being caught right after work, unclothed, feeling completely vulnerable, and not understanding what’s happening. And we need to find ways to prevent those types of unintended harms whenever possible.”
The raid at Young’s home was captured on officers’ body cameras and quickly went viral after the video was publicly released, sparking one of Lightfoot’s biggest police accountability scandals of her first term. The footage was first reported by WBBM-TV Ch. 2 in its series of stories about faulty search warrants — after the mayor’s administration took the extraordinary step of seeking a court order to stop the outlet from broadcasting video of the raid.
Young herself addressed aldermen Thursday in emotional testimony, telling them her life would “never be the same because of that experience,” and that it is still “a daily struggle for me to function at any normal capacity or lifestyle.”
“We have the opportunity today to choose a different path, one that leads our city to true accountability in the way officers engage and interact with the community,” she said. “Be bold, be courageous and do the right thing and push this ordinance forward.”
Following the vote, Young told reporters she was disappointed in the outcome but “I do not feel defeated today.”
”Shame on City Council for not moving forward with this today… and shame on the city for not supporting this, because we will get this ordinance passed, whether it’s in the state level or some other way,” Young said.
She noted that council and mayoral elections are coming up in February. “I know that this current administration will turn over next year,” potentially opening reconsideration up in the coming months, she said. “You guys will hear more from me because I will be endorsing a candidate who will stand by me.”
After the video’s eventual release, Lightfoot was deemed to have made “a troubling series of unfounded statements” over the wrongful raid, according to a report by former Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson. The mayor commissioned the law firm Jones Day to conduct its own investigation, which found city officials fell short on following procedures and communicating but that there was “no evidence” of “purposeful concealment” by the city.
The latest proposed version of the Anjanette Young Ordinance would add a provision that mandates the officer seeking a warrant to conduct at least a week of surveillance on the location. It keeps a ban on no-knock warrants except in the case of “exigent circumstances” such as someone facing imminent physical harm.
No-knock warrants allow officers to forcibly enter homes without announcing themselves, most notably in the 2020 police shooting of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman killed in Louisville during a flawed drug investigation.
Also under Hadden’s legislation, Chicago police will be required to publish data on each residential warrant it served and refer each unsuccessful raid to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Informants would not be allowed to be the sole source of information for a warrant, and if children are present, at least one social worker or mental health professional must be on site.
But Lightfoot has opposed efforts by Hadden and other aldermen to crack down on police raids via an ordinance, suggesting last year that the legislation “doesn’t seem to have been written by somebody with a lot of experience” in best policing practices. She added that the consent decree binding the police department requires a “nimbleness” that would be harmed by a city ordinance.
“If we make it static, as in a City Council law, that would be unprecedented, number one, but I think it would inhibit the ability of the department to respond nimbly to changing circumstances that might warrant some quicker action,” Lightfoot said, defending her administration’s separate policy reforms as “responsive” to Young’s concerns from that botched raid.
At Thursday’s meeting, Hadden said Lightfoot had rejected multiple efforts to draft a compromise, despite asking that Thursday’s vote be put on hold in order to work out such a compromise.Hadden then said administration officials called aldermen to say that the consent decree barred further changes on warrant policies.
“If they’re telling you that you can’t do this, they’re lying to you, OK? It’s false,” said Hadden, urging Council members to exercise their authority to guide CPD policy and not to “pass the buck” to the federal court overseeing the consent decree.
Elena Gottreich, the city’s deputy mayor of public safety, warned aldermen Thursday that passage of the ordinance would be duplicative of current CPD efforts to gather public comment on its search warrant policy. Public comment is open until Dec. 31, and CPD officials said after drafting a policy, it would be open again to public input next spring.
Police department officials did concede, under questioning from Osterman, that it was within council’s power to recommend search warrant changes, and if the monitor had concerns about the changes, they could be communicated directly to the council.
Voting yes were Osterman, Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th; Ald. Derrick Curtis, 18th; and Ald. Matt Martin, 47th.
Voting no were aldermen Nicole Lee, 11th; Monique Scott, 24th; Ariel Reboyras, 30th; Samantha Nugent, 39th; Anthony Napolitano, 41st; Timmy Knudsen, 43rd; Tom Tunney, 44th; Jim Gardiner, 45th; and Deb Silverstein, 50th.
The Chicago Police Department announced changes to its warrant policy that went into effect in May 2021, and Hadden has acknowledged that those reforms have much overlap with her ordinance and, in same cases, even go further. It requires a department member who is at the rank of lieutenant or above to be at the scene when the warrant is executed and for each member of the team serving the warrant to wear body cameras.
A female member of the department also is required to be present during the service of the warrant, the policy states, and a warrant served on a property or location where occupants could be present must be reviewed by several supervisors, including a deputy chief. Further, the more unusual “John Doe” and no-knock warrants must be authorized by bureau chiefs. John Doe warrants are based on anonymous, but verified, tips.