CHICAGO — The fallout from the botched raid on Anjanette Young’s home continues to ripple through City Hall as two staffers left the city’s Law Department on Monday.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office confirmed Deputy Corporation Counsel Caryn Jacobs and Director of Public Affairs Kathleen Fieweger no longer work for the city.
The departures follow the resignation of Corporation Counsel Mark Flessner, who left his post as head of the department on Sunday citing the “firestorm” surrounding the release of a video of the botched raid on Young’s home in 2019.
The mayor’s office did not immediately say why Jacobs and Fieweger left the department. The departures were first reported by NBC Chicago.
At a Monday press conference, Lightfoot said she personally sought Flessner’s resignation.
Flessner told the Chicago Tribune he was resigning his $178,872-a-year job due to the “firestorm around the whole tape thing.”
“I’m being accused of trying to hide it, which is not true,” he said.
Lightfoot’s Senior Ethics Advisor Celia Meza will replace Flessner on an interim basis. Lightfoot said she’s charged Meza with leading “with integrity and transparency.”
The day after CBS Chicago reported on the raid last week, including the police officer body worn camera footage of the raid, Fieweger issued a statement defending the law department’s decision to ask a federal judge to block the news station from airing the video. She said the videos were provided to Young “with the requirement that it be subject to a confidentiality agreement under which neither party could publicly disclose it.”
“As Officers of the Court, the Law Department felt that it had an obligation to bring to the Judge’s attention the apparent violation of his order,” Fieweger said.
The following day, Lightfoot said the move to block the video left her “blindsided” and she would not have allowed it had she known beforehand. But the mayor defended the decision to seek sanctions against Young’s attorney, Keenan Saulter, for allegedly providing the videos to CBS — something neither Young nor Saulter have said they did.
By Friday, Lightfoot announced she directed Flessner to drop any bid for punitive measures against Saulter.
For days, the mayor has faced increasing scrutiny over what happened to Young that night and how she and other city leaders have handled the issue for almost two years.
“Trust with our city, our police department and law department and, most of all, trust in me has been questioned as the events related to Ms. Anjanette Young and the outrageous search of her home came to light last week,” Lightfoot said Monday. “We have to take action to address the changes to policies and regulations to protect all Chicagoans against any kind of abuse, particularly one in their homes. And to ensure that our city government is as transparent as it can be.”
On Monday, Lightfoot also announced police officers involved in the raid have been assigned to desk duty until a Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigation of the incident concludes.
“Now, we must respect COPA’s independence, but as I repeatedly told COPA’s chief administrator, I firmly believe in the value that justice delayed is justice denied,” Lightfoot said. “Frankly, there is no excuse that this matter has languished for a year without any significant movement on the part of COPA.
“[Until the investigation is complete,] these officers need to be off the street.”
Police Department spokesman Don Terry later confirmed 12 officers were assigned to desk duty, but declined to say if anyone else in the department faces discipline for the raid.
The body camera footage showed at least 12 officers bursting into Young’s home on an ill-informed search warrant in the evening as Young prepared for bed. She was unable to put on clothes or answer the door before officers barreled through.
Sydney Roberts, head of COPA, previously said the agency opened an investigation in November 2019 and it is “close to conclusion.” Details will be made public in early 2021, she said.
There will be a City Council committee hearing on the Young incident and search warrant procedures of the police department Tuesday morning. Lightfoot declined a request from seven aldermen to provide testimony at the hearing, saying she hadn’t received the letter and “I think the aldermen have it covered.”
Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th), a former Chicago Police officer who will chair the committee hearing, promised a “top-to-bottom legislative hearing.”
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