Chicago mayor releases documents related to wrong house raid, alerted it was ‘pretty bad’

CHICAGO (WGN-TV) In the aftermath of the release of bodycam footage from a wrongful 2019 raid on Anjanette Young’s home, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office announced the disclosure of emails and other documents related to the botched raid, which show she was informed it was “pretty bad” in Nov. 2019.

Among the documents released include emails from the mayor’s office, as well as the response from the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the Chicago Police Department to a Freedom of Information Act request by WBBM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Chicago.

The emails released, which date back to Nov. 2019, detail communication between City of Chicago employees and Chicago police regarding Freedom of Information Act requests from both Young and CBS2, as well as how Lightfoot was informed of the incident.

Lightfoot was told there was a “pretty bad wrongful raid” that was going to be released to the media, and informed Lightfoot CBS2’s FOIA request was denied.

Lightfoot also included her calendar for November 11, 2019, the day which Lightfoot’s staff informed her that Young’s FOIA request was in the works and would be released to her the next day.

The document release from the mayor’s office also has a production of the claims file in response to a FOIA request from Chicago police.

As NewsNation affiliate WGN-TV reported, the mayor initially denied her office knowing anything about the incident, but later recanted; saying she was actually alerted about the case with a few details last year.

ALL Documents released
Statement from mayor’s press office

Mayor Lightfoot has been and remains committed to full transparency surrounding the police raid on Anjanette Young’s home and all subsequent actions and activity, as well as identifying all other victims and righting wrongs. The raid at Ms. Young’s home took place on February 21, 2019 – three months prior to Mayor Lightfoot taking office. Nonetheless, the Mayor has made clear that there must be full accountability for the actions of all involved in the incident as well as the City’s response.

As part of this commitment, the Mayor’s Office is proactively releasing the results of a preliminary search of staff emails related to November 2019 responses to reporting regarding the search warrant execution at the home of Ms. Young. This production can be accessed below. It includes the references made by the Mayor with regard to internal discussions within her office. In the interest of transparency, the City has only made redactions to these documents where necessary for purposes of privacy (such as cell phone numbers or home addresses) or attorney-client privilege.

These email communications posted below illustrate:

– Confirmation of Mayor Lightfoot’s prior public statements that staff raised an issue regarding reporting about the raid on Ms. Young’s home on November 11, 2019.
– Staff did not give the Mayor a detailed briefing about the circumstances involving Ms. Young.
– On November 11, 2019, staff informed the Mayor that “victim FOIA request is in the works and to be released to her tomorrow. . .”
– The Mayor was not informed of nor involved in the subsequent denial of Ms. Young’s FOIA request for video footage related to the raid on her home.
– In light of the information provided to the Mayor on November 11, 2019, the Mayor’s personal response centered around a directive to the City’s chief risk officer to accelerate previously initiated systemic reforms to the search warrant process and related areas of policy and accountability.

This production of emails is not exhaustive or comprehensive of a full review of all emails surrounding the raid on Ms. Young’s home. They represent an initial production of materials in response to the Mayor’s public statements of making such materials available, in her ongoing commitment to transparency. As the Mayor has made clear, independent investigations into this incident and all subsequent activity will be conducted by the City’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) and the Office of the Inspector General. The law firm Jones Day – under the leadership of former federal Judge Ann Claire Williams – is conducting a comprehensive review of all City departments which played any role in the events surrounding the incident. Jones Day will also conduct a review of various policies, to include CPD’s Use of Force and Video Release Policy, and make recommendations on improvements or changes where needed. Additionally, Jones Day will review the current laws regarding the release of Body Worn Cameras and make any suggestions for legislative changes to ensure victims’ rights are at the forefront.

Throughout this process, the City anticipates the receipt of individual FOIA requests related to this matter. All responses provided to individuals will be posted to this site as well as provided directly to the requesting individuals. As of the launch of this site on December 30, 2020, in addition to the initial production of emails noted above, included here are a current production of the Claims File in response to a FOIA request; letters from CPD, COPA and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office in response to initial FOIA requests for video footage of the incident; and the Mayor’s calendar from November 11, 2019.

CITY OF CHICAGO

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