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Anjanette Young Ordinance to reform CPD search warrant rules hits roadblock

Anjanette Young Ordinance fails City Council committee vote
Anjanette Young Ordinance fails City Council committee vote 02:04

CHICAGO (CBS)-- A long-delayed proposal to revise Chicago Police Department search warrant policies, known as the Anjanette Young Ordinance, hit a roadblock on Thursday, as a key City Council Committee voted against the changes it sought.

The Public Safety Committee voted 10-4 against the Anjanette Young Ordinance on Thursday. While its proponents still have the option of asking the full City Council to override the Public Safety Committee's vote, even if the full City Council were to approve the ordinance, it would face a near certain veto from Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who opposes it.

"Shame on City Council for not moving forward with this today," Young said. "But yet. there's still a fight and I'm going to continue to fight until we receive the results that we're looking for."

Young was brought to tears by the failed vote, after personally urging aldermen to approve the ordinance's proposed search warrant reforms.

"Families will never get the support and the help that they need if we continue in the route that we're on," she said.

The Anjanette Young Ordinance, if passed, would require Chicago police officers to follow what would be a new city law governing the execution of search warrants.

"We can be better. We can do better. This is commonsense legislation that puts us on that path," Ald. Maria Hadden (49th), the ordinance's chief sponsor, told her colleagues before Thursday's vote.

As she testified at Thursday's hearing, Young tearfully recalled her horrific experience during that botched raid of her home.

"When they entered my home, I did not have any clothes on, and they were more focused on finding handguns and ammunition and drugs than securing the dignity of a female citizen. It was clear that my safety and dignity was not top of mind. Where was the serve and protect for me? I was handcuffed, ignored, and when I asked questions, I was told to calm down and not to shout at them," she said.

The ordinance named after Young was created about two months after a CBS 2 Investigation into how Chicago police officers wrongly raiding her home. The innocent social worker was changing her clothes when a team of officers burst into her home.  She was handcuffed naked as officers swarmed her home with guns drawn. 

She can be seen on police body camera video repeatedly telling officers they were in the wrong place.  

Body Camera Video Shows Police Handcuff Innocent, Naked Woman During Wrong Raid by CBS Chicago on YouTube

"I did not lose my physical life that night, but I lost a lot of my life that night. My life will never be the same," Young told aldermen of that night.

The CBS 2 Investigators found that officers could have and should have known they were in the wrong apartment. The suspect police were looking for, based on a tip from a confidential informant, was living in a neighboring apartment. He also was wearing a police tracking device while awaiting trial for a recent arrest.

Since then, Chicago police have adopted several changes including banning no-knock warrants, except in cases where lives are in danger. All other search warrants would have to be approved by a deputy chief or higher.

Hadden and several other progressive alderpersons want to go further by requiring other changes through city ordinances that can only be changed by City Council votes and not through CPD internal policies that can ultimately be changed by the Mayor or police superintendent.

Here are some of the changes the ordinance would require under city law:

  • While banning no-knock warrants and requiring officers to knock and give residents 30 seconds to answer the door, it gives officers the authority to immediately enter a home in emergency and to prevent physical harm to a person.
  • Search warrants may not be based solely on tips from an informant, requiring police to independently corroborate an informant's information and confirm the target of a warrant is present at the location of a raid.
  • A required threat assessment matrix has been added to the proposed ordinance to determine risks to residents and officers too.  If the risk outweighs the benefits, the search warrant is not supposed to be executed.
  • The original mandate that raids only be executed between 9am and 7pm, has been removed from the revised ordinance.
  • If children are present while officers are executing a search warrant, police would be prohibited from pointing guns at any child "unless the child presents an imminent risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person."
  • The newly submitted ordinance has more child-focused training requirements for officers and a requirement to have supportive services from a social worker or mental health professional.
  • Officers would be prohibited from handcuffing adult caregivers in front of children, but the revised ordinance would allow it if there is an immediate threat of harm.
  • New to the ordinance, the Chicago Police Department would be required to give referrals for free supportive services to families with children or vulnerable adults when there is a negative warrant.  A negative warrant means no arrests were made and nothing was confiscated from the home. 

Supporters of the Anjanette Young Ordinance want the search warrant rules to be governed by the city's municipal code, rather than only by CPD policy, which can be changed by the superintendent or mayor on their own.

Currently there are no city laws governing how officers execute search warrants. Officers executing search warrants follow department directives, which have been changed as a result of CBS 2's years-long investigation into bad raids.  

Chicago Inspector General’s Office Releases Troubling Findings On City’s Handling Of Anjanette Young by CBS Chicago on YouTube

The Lightfoot administration has fought against Hadden's efforts to enact search warrant reforms as part of the city code, arguing those changes should only be made through CPD internal policy. 

Deputy mayor of public safety Elena Gottreich told aldermen that CPD has made several changes to search warrant policies since 2019, including that the investigation leading up to the execution of a search warrant must be documented, and that there is a critical incident review of anything described as a "wrong raid."

"The Chicago Police Department has worked strenuously to make sure these rights are afforded, as per their policy," she said.

Gottreich also argued making further changes through municipal law, in addition to existing CPD internal policy, would be "sticky and duplicative."

Hadden said going through the City Council for such a law would be redundant because the monitors for a federal consent decree on the Chicago Police Department have oversight. 

But Hadden said she believes it's the City Council's responsibility to ensure city law protects against such botched raids as the one at Young's home.

"I think I heard a word of burden earlier from the deputy mayor. It's not a burden, it's a responsibility, and it's a duty, and that's an honor. We're all here because we're serving our constituents, and so we have some heavy things that we carry sometimes, and traumatic things that we listen to and experience through our residents and through our community members. We're looking to reduce harm, we're looking to improve professionalism, and we're looking to protect our constituents," Hadden said.

Hadden added that the Chicago Police consent decree is often held up as "a convenient red herring right of, 'Oh, well, we can't do this.'"

The consent decree, a series of mandated CPD reforms that a federal court is overseeing to make sure they are implemented, was first put into place in 2019.

The federal investigation was launched into Chicago policing after the killing of Laquan McDonald.  A key finding was abusive policing occurring in communities of color and a lack of accountability.

Earlier this year, a federal court judge granted a motion to change the CPD consent decree to now include oversight on the department's search warrant policies and procedures. 

University of Chicago Law School Professor Craig Futterman said there is no conflict between the ordinance and the consent decree. Futterman is one of the lead attorneys who represent a community coalition in the Chicago Police Department consent decree. 

"I know what's in the consent decree — all 800 900 paragraphs," Futterman said.

Young said Thursday was just a roadblock in her fight.

"If we need to go to the state and we need to need to go to Springfield, then I'm going to Springfield," Young said, "but I won't give up on this initiative."

It's unclear what the next step is for supporters of the Anjanette Young Ordinance after it failed to pass the Public Safety Committee, but Young said her fight is far from over.

"We're in an election season. So there are some people who are running against the mayor, and you guys will hear more from me, because I will be endorsing a candidate who will stand by me, and we will still continue to push for the Anjanette Young ordinance," she said.

Meanwhile, why should Chicago taxpayers be concerned about this debate? CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey notes that just in the last few years, the city has paid out at least $5.4 million to the victims of these wrong raids. 

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