CHICAGO (December 16, 2020) – The Chicago City Council Progressive Caucus issued the following statement on Wednesday in response to the release of bodycam footage of Chicago police officers erroneously entering the home of Anjanette Young:
Our hearts go out to Ms. Anjanette Young, as she bravely shares her traumatic experience during CPD’s disastrous, reckless and illegal warrant execution. We pray for her healing.
For nearly 20 minutes, Ms. Young was handcuffed naked in her own home while officers stood by, failing to provide assistance. Officers also ignored Ms. Young’s repeated pleas—approximately 43 in total—that CPD was in the wrong home.
Between the inhumane treatment of Ms. Young, the failed No Knock Warrant, officers prematurely turning off their body-worn cameras and questions on transparency, this whole incident was mishandled and never should have happened. We are outraged!
No one should be dehumanized by any public servants, denied access to an attorney, or held in incommunicado detention. This incident further erodes the already tenuous relationship between CPD and people of color across the city.
We call on the Inspector General to conduct a thorough examination of this incident, including why it took COPA nine months to open an investigation and to determine whether there was any attempt to thwart transparency.
In addition, we will work with our colleagues to hold subject-matter hearings about this terrible incident. Whether it’s how the warrant was issued and executed, why the bodycams were prematurely turned off, and why the Law Department may have fought the release of this video, Chicagoans deserve to know exactly what went wrong here and what city leaders are going to do to fix it. Any delay of justice undermines the hard work of the public servants across the city, who now must face deep distrust from some residents. It doesn’t just undermine Chicagoans trust with police officers, it undermines trust with all public servants, trust in our very government.
Addressing the institutional crisis at CPD requires bold, aggressive action on multiple fronts. One such reform is creating a Civilian Oversight Board with the power to oversee CPD, COPA, and all police oversight mechanisms. This community body would review incidents like these and be empowered to recommend solutions that ensure this cycle of wrongful treatment ends.
City government must deepen its commitment to transparency and police accountability. We urge Mayor Lightfoot to help accomplish this by working with us and the entire City Council to create a Civilian Safety Oversight Board and recommit to upholding the full spirit of democratic justice. There are numerous other substantial policies at our fingertips—warrant-service reform, ending incommunicado detention, and rolling back improper surveillance, to name a few. In countless lawsuits and public hearings, Chicagoans have conveyed heartbreaking stories of being falsely arrested, unjustly labeled or servailed, and brutally mistreated. So many of those wrongs have yet to be righted.
Members of the Chicago Progressive caucus are Ald. Daniel LaSpata (1), Ald. Sophia King (4), Ald. Leslie Hairston (5), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6), Ald. Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10), Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16), Ald. David Moore (17), Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20), Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22), Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25), Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29), Ald. Rossana Rodriguez (33), Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35), Ald. Felix Cardona, Jr. (31), Ald. Scott Waguespack (32), Ald. Andre Vasquez (40), Ald. Matt Martin (47), and Ald. Maria Hadden (49)