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In a 164-page report by Chicago’s Office of the Inspector General, issued Friday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the city’s police department, and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability were each taken to task over a botched February 2019 police raid, with Lightfoot and others being calling out for several “unfounded statements” made over the incident.
Following a bad tip, Chicago police officers stormed the wrong West Side house in search of a suspect and found social worker Anjanette Young in the middle of dressing. Young was handcuffed, naked, in front of a dozen officers, for nearly ten minutes before they allowed her to get dressed.
Young settled a $2.9 million lawsuit with the city last month.
“City government failed to appropriately respond to a victim of a CPD wrong raid, failed to act with transparency in City operations, and performed a series of governmental actions in a manner that prioritized communications and public relations concerns over the higher mission of City government,” the OIG found.
According to Fox News, Lightfoot reportedly sought a court order in 2020 to prevent local news station WBBM-TV from airing police body camera of the event, on which Young can be heard saying, “You’ve got the wrong house! I live alone!”
Lightfoot initially claimed she knew nothing of the raid until it eventually aired, following a court order to give the footage to Young, who then gave it to WBBM.
Later, Lightfoot was forced to admit she knew about the debacle in November 2019, when she was sent an email concerning it. At the time, she stated in an emailed response that she had “a lot of questions.”
The IG report found that, even if knowledge of the incident had slipped her mind, Lightfoot’s subsequent statements lacked “appropriate due diligence and fact-checking” and created an “incomplete and inaccurate depiction to the public and the media” concerning the city’s prior communications over the wrongful raid.
Furthermore, the report found that “after learning details of the Young raid, numerous city employees failed to promptly report the raid to COPA [Civilian Office of Police Accountability]. The raid occurred on February 21, 2019; yet no complaint was opened until November 12, 2019, nearly nine months later.”
The report, however, stopped short of recommending any disciplinary action due to concurrent investigations.
“Inspector General Joe Ferguson (now retired) said in October that he was unable to recommend disciplinary action against any city employees because a simultaneous, outside investigation requested by the mayor included interviews with 20 of those same city employees. Lightfoot administration then claimed Attorney client privilege does shield that information from him,” the Chicago Sun Times reported.
In a response included in the OIG report, Lightfoot’s office issued a statement, saying, in part: “OIG was and remains silent on its own role in handling Ms. Young’s case … the fact that the OIG has opined about the conduct of other departments, but not itself undermines the legitimacy of the OIG and work on this matter and, we fear, other important OIG work.”
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