ARMOUR SQUARE — Anjanette Young, who was was handcuffed and left naked while Chicago police wrongly raided her home, celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by calling on people to protect Black women in Chicago and beyond.
Young also called for police departments to be held accountable when their officers mistreat families of color. She spoke to dozens at a rally Monday outside Progressive Baptist Church, 3658 S. Wentworth Ave., where she’s been a member for about five years.
Accountability requires city officials “not shielding officers when they’re in the wrong,” Young said.
Body camera footage shows officers detaining Young in the nude as she pled with them that they had the wrong home during the February 2019 raid.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the city’s police watchdog, blocked Young from accessing footage of the raid by opening an investigation the same day Young was scheduled to receive the videos. Chicago police officials cited that investigation as the reason it wouldn’t release the footage.
It wasn’t until December that the video came out and was shown in a CBS2 report, shocking the city and leading to sharp criticism of police and Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
“Twelve white men, who for no purposes at all saw me as a human being, didn’t see their wives, their mothers, their children, their sister, their cousin — could not see that in me,” Young said. “Enough is enough.”
Though Young said some have asked whether recounting the graphic details of her story adds to her trauma, she said she refuses to be silent.
“I will tell it again today. I will tell it again tomorrow. I will tell it again until no other woman in the city of Chicago is ever treated that way again,” she said.
The mistreatment of Black women by police is not unique to Chicago, said Rheanna Johnson, Young’s friend and a church member who led the rally’s closing prayer.
“We hear it all over,” Johnson said. “Breonna Taylor, of course, [the raid on her home] ended tragically. I think it’s time for a change, and we’ve waited too long for it.”
Johnson, an educator, said Young has inspired her to “fan the fire for change for all women” by sharing Young’s story with her students.
Members of Progressive Baptist are “heavily involved in social justice, and so it’s important to me that when I speak out, it’s done here,” said Young, who leads the church’s hospitality ministry and its team of 25 volunteers.
“This church has been my foundation and my support from day one of the incident,” she said. “Even the night of the incident, one of the ministers from my church came to my home to make sure I was okay.”
Elise Willoughby, who attended the rally, said she was appalled by the video of the raid and the conduct of the officers on the scene.
Chicago police officers must treat Black women — and all the residents they serve — with the same dignity they treat fellow officers, she said.
“There’s no respect,” Willoughby said. “They’re so rude when they’re out; but when you’re around them on the inside, they’re so nice.”
An Invisible Institute analysis of Chicago police data found when officers used force against women from 2018–2019, more than 80 percent of the women were Black, said Director of Data Trina Reynolds-Tyler.
Some violent incidents, like when officer Brian Greene Jr. ran over Martina Standley — a Black woman — in November 2019, may not even be reported as “use-of-force” incidents by the department. Police weren’t pursuing or arresting Standley at the time, so her gruesome injuries didn’t result from officers’ “use of force,” a COPA spokesperson said.
Reynolds-Tyler spoke at Monday’s rally, naming women like Diane Bond, Trina Townsend, officer Cynthia Donald and others who have alleged sexual violence at the hands of Chicago police while calling for an end to assault and harassment.
Young said the experience of 12 male officers raiding her home “felt like sexual assault — a man stood close enough to me while I was naked to put handcuffs on me.”
“Often, when we think about police violence, we’re thinking about a man in particular being shot in the street,” Reynolds-Tyler said. “We don’t speak enough about the ways that women and femmes — specifically Black women — are impacted by these things.”
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