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As Anjanette Young Meets With Mayor, City Watchdog Launches Investigation Into Wrongful Raid, Fallout

Inspector General Joe Ferguson told aldermen his office is investigating the police conduct surrounding the raid of Young's home and the city's handling of the ongoing controversy.

Anjanette Young (left) and Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson
Screenshot/Ted Cox
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CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot met privately with Anjanette Young Thursday morning, hours before Chicago’s Inspector General Joe Ferguson confirmed his office will probe the wrongful raid of Young’s home and City Hall’s handling of the aftermath. 

A previously planned meeting this week between Young and the mayor was canceled after the two sides disagreed on some of the terms. Young and her attorney, Keenan Saulter, had sought both a meeting with the mayor and a public forum with Lightfoot and aldermen. The mayor rebuffed the request for the forum but said she was still open to meeting privately.

In a joint statement, Saulter and the mayor’s press office said the Thursday meeting was a “step towards Ms. Young’s healing.”

“Today we met and had a lengthy, very candid and productive conversation about the unacceptable raid on Ms. Young’s house and her pain. We also discussed a number of systemic changes necessary to address the wrongs done not only to Ms. Young, but also to other victims,” the statement said.

“Today’s conversation was not a resolution to the problematic issues that both parties acknowledge exist — which led to the events of February 21, 2019 at Ms. Young’s home.

“However, there could be no resolution without first engaging in a substantive conversation. We are both committed to continuing to identify areas of common ground relating to these issues and to working towards necessary policy changes together.”

CBS2 first reported the meeting. No details on the location were provided.

Members of City Council have blasted Lightfoot and the police department for their handling of the issue and called on Ferguson to conduct a separate investigation. On Tuesday, Ferguson wrote a letter to aldermen to provide an “update” on their request and confirm his office was taking action.

Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd) shared Ferguson’s email on Twitter on Thursday.

“While we continue to seek information about and assess the charge, authority and activities — either ongoing or contemplated — of other entities, including specifically the Mayor’s appointed Special Counsel and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, please be advised that OIG has initiated and is proceeding with a formal inquiry into aspects of the search warrant execution at Ms. Young’s home and the handling of its aftermath by City departments and officials,” Ferguson wrote.

Ferguson also took issue with the Wednesday release of emails and other documents by the Lightfoot administration, which included a statement indicating Ferguson’s office was investigating the incident.

Ferguson said that statement “was offered without any consultation with or representation from or by OIG.”

Ferguson’s inquiry is the third investigation launched to scrutinize the incident. COPA opened an investigation into police officers’ conduct on the night of the raid, and Lightfoot previously appointed former federal judge Ann Claire Williams and her law firm, Jones Day, to review the raid and City Hall’s response.

Ferguson said his office will make a statement next week to “clarify to the (City Council) and public what OIG understands is being examined and by whom…”

The trove of emails released Wednesday offer more clarity on what city leaders knew about the raid and when. After Lightfoot revealed she had been told about the raid in November 2019 — after previously saying she hadn’t known of the details before CBS2 aired its story this month — she pledged to release the emails from her office in a show of transparency.

Those emails were made public late Wednesday afternoon with little advanced warning, as many already were preparing for the long holiday weekend.

The emails included a Nov. 11, 2019 message first alerting Lightfoot, which included a detailed description of the raid that left Young naked and handcuffed while male police officers searched her home without basis.

The emails released Wednesday also show how the Civilian Office of Police Accountability intervened to prevent Young from obtaining videos of the raid through a Freedom of Information Act request. Young’s request was denied by the Police Department, citing a “pending investigation” launched by COPA on the day the videos should have been turned over to her.

Amid the fallout from CBS2’s report, Brown has rolled out additional search warrant reforms and Lightfoot has promised to increase transparency, including in how the city responds to Freedom of Information Act requests — promises she first made when campaigning for mayor.

Mark Flessner, the city’s former corporation counsel for the Law Department, resigned amid revelations city attorneys tried to prevent CBS2 from airing video of the raid and sought to sanction Saulter for providing the news station the footage.

Lightfoot has said she’s asked for a “top-to-bottom” review of why Young’s request was denied and will change city policies to ensure a victim who reaches out for police body cam video doesn’t have to file a former public records request.

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