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Aldermen To Weigh Proposed Settlement In Anjanette Young's Lawsuit Over Botched CPD Raid

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The City Council Finance Committee on Monday will consider a proposed settlement of the lawsuit Anjanette Young filed against the city, after she was left handcuffed while naked during a botched Chicago Police Department raid of her home in February 2019.

The agenda for Monday's Finance Committee meeting includes a proposed order authorizing the city's Law Department to execute a settlement agreement in Young's lawsuit, but does not include a dollar amount for the settlement. A spokesman for Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office declined to immediately comment on the proposed settlement.

The apparent settlement comes months after settlement talks between Young's attorneys and the city stalled.

In March, and then again in June, Young and her attorney, Keenan Saulter, called out the city for dragging its feet on the case despite Lightfoot's public promises to quickly resolve the case.

Saulter said in a March interview that the city, at that time, had offered Young "zero dollars to resolve this case, still."

"I feel like I'm invisible to the Mayor and the city," Young said in a previous interview. "They continue to not see me, as anyone who deserves to be treated fairly, to receive justice, to be heard."

City representatives, however, said at the time they had made efforts to settle.

In a motion filed in June, the city asked a judge to dismiss the case, arguing in their motion that Young's lawsuit failed to challenge "the underlying validity of the [search] warrant" and did not allege a legal wrong.

Now it appears a settlement is close. Finance Committee chair Ald. Scott Waguespack's office confirmed a proposed settlement is on the agenda for Monday's meeting, but a dollar amount for the settlement is not yet available, as the committee is still "waiting on a fully executed agreement."

Word of the settlement comes a month after the city's Civilian Office of Police Accountability recommended termination or suspension for multiple officers for their role in the botched, where police handcuffed the innocent, unclothed social worker in her home.

The agency released the findings of its probe on Nov. 10, nearly two years after it began investigating the raid and how officers treated Anjanette Young the night of Feb. 21, 2019.

COPA recommended Officer Alain Aporongao, who obtained the warrant, receive a minimum 180-day suspension, up to and including separation from the department. The agency also recommended two sergeants, Alex Wolinski and Cory Petracco, each receive a minimum of a one-year suspension, up to and including separation from the department.

Police Supt. David Brown has already moved to terminate Wolinski, and the others will likely face suspensions, sources tell CBS 2. All the officers have a right to appeal any discipline.

"The unfortunate sequence of events leading to [Anjanette Young's] maltreatment began with Officer Aporongao's misconduct in obtaining the Warrant and the supervisors who failed to provide adequate oversight," the report said.

The report also said COPA considered the officers' lack of prior discipline, but said it is "undeniable" that Aporongao is "the most culpable for the harm" that Young experienced, and the sergeants failed to effectively supervise Aporongao's search warrant preparations.

COPA recommended suspensions for five additional officers, and also cleared other officers who were part of the raid, according to the report.

CBS 2 first interviewed and aired a story about Young in November of 2019. The reporting uncovered how Aporongao received a bad a tip from a confidential informant and failed to verify it. Police then used that incorrect information to burst into Young's home – the wrong home.

COPA's report said Aporongao "failed to conduct a proper investigation," and he and Wolinski organized the team of more than a dozen officers to conduct the raid. The discipline recommended by COPA Wednesday could be the first time some of the officers involved are held accountable for what happened.

"Before I knew it, there was a swarm of police officers," Young said in a previous interview. "They had these big guns, long guns with scopes and lights…I thought they were going to shoot me."

But the harrowing images of Young unclothed, in tears and repeatedly telling officers they were in the wrong place was the lynchpin. It sparked national outrage when CBS 2 aired the damning body camera video in December of 2020.

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"When media published [body worn camera] footage approximately one year later, the troubling images shook the nation," COPA wrote in its report.

The video revealed how the more than a dozen officers failed to quickly and fully cover Young's body as she stood naked and handcuffed.

"I can just remember crying and yelling, 'Please let me put my clothes on…you have the wrong place," she said. "I can see it all over again…I can see them walking around my house and feeling humiliated."

The airing of the video led to months of fallout in City Hall and sharp criticism aimed at Lightfoot after her law office tried to go to federal court to stop CBS 2 from airing the video.

The fallout also renewed questions about the status of COPA's investigation into the raid, and if the officers would be held accountable. At the time of CBS 2's December 2020 story, the officers were taken off the street and placed on desk duty pending the investigation. COPA had also said it was still in the process of interviewing all of the officers involved.

In April, COPA said it concluded its probe, which focused on how officers obtained the warrant on Young's home and how they treated her while there. The investigation involved more than 30 interviews across the police department, Cook County State's Attorney's Office and Cook County Sheriff's Department. As a result, COPA said it identified nearly 100 allegations of misconduct stemming from the actions of the officers on the raid.

"My concern is what will they do about it?" Young asked in April. "Will they be outlined in a way that these officers will be held accountable? What are the consequences of these 100 allegations?"

The COPA investigation was one of multiple probes into how the raid on Young's home was handled by police. The Chicago Inspector General's Office  completed its investigation into the raid. The findings were sent to Lightfoot's office, which has a "period of time" to review and respond before the findings are made public, former Inspector General Joe Ferguson said.

Lightfoot also asked a former federal judge to conduct an outside investigation.

Lightfoot previously committed to resolving Young's lawsuit against the city. CBS 2 previously reported Lightfoot was criticized for publicly apologizing for what happened to Young, while her law department attempted to dismiss the case in court.

What happened to Young fits into a systemic pattern of traumatic, wrongful raids at the homes of innocent Black and Brown residents in Chicago uncovered by CBS 2. Young's case spurred key search warrant reforms and policy changes.

COPA echoed this pattern in its report, saying the wrong raid on Young's home "reveals problems far more pervasive than any individual incident of officer misconduct." The report also emphasized a lack of adequate training and supervision surrounding how officers use warrants and the disproportionate impact on people of color.

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