CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot personally wrote to a judge, asking him to not sanction the lawyer in the case of Anjanette Young, who was naked when her home was wrongly raided by Chicago Police.
Initially, the City Of Chicago sought sanctions against Keenan Saulter after CBS 2 obtained disturbing police body camera video of the raid. The city also unsuccessfully asked the judge to prevent CBS 2 from broadcasting the story. Later, the city dropped the motion to sanction Saulter, but Mayor Lightfoot took the unusual step of writing federal District Court Judge John Tharp on Friday, after he indicated last month he might still punish Saulter even after the city withdrew its request.
"I write to ask the court to not seek sanctions against attorney Keenan Saulter in the above matter," Lightfoot wrote in the letter, dated Jan. 15, 2021. "Since the city withdrew the ill-advised [motion] ... I have personally learned more about the underlying case at issue and I had the opportunity to have an extended conversation with Ms. Anjanette Young and her counsel. ... On the basis of that interaction and other information that has come to me about Attorney Saulter, I believe that his conduct regarding the video at issue in the matter was an aberration."
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"The contents of the video showing officers in Ms. Young's home, and the particular circumstances she was forced to endure were very hard to watch, and for me, they were frankly gut-wrenching. The whole circumstance added to a significant burden of trauma, fear and mistrust that many of our residents were already bearing," she added. "Our city needs to heal and get to a better place on this and a number of other issues as this new year begins."
Last year, Young filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the video to show the public what happened to her that day. CBS 2 also filed a request for the video. But the Chicago Police Department denied the requests.
Young obtained the footage after a court forced CPD to turn it over as part of her lawsuit against police.
"I feel like they didn't want us to have this video because they knew how bad it was," Young said. "They knew they had done something wrong. They knew that the way they treated me was not right."
Saulter filed in court his response that was due Friday, giving his argument for why he violated the protective order and why he should not be sanctioned.
In his filing Saulter said he had a "good-faith belief that disclosing the videos would not violate the protective order and while Saulter appreciates that he should have proceeded differently, he did not act in willful violation of the order, as required for any finding of contempt."
The filing also states "the order in question was entered solely for the benefit of the City, and the City has since effectively admitted that the videos, which show painful mistreatment of an African-American woman by Chicago police officers, should not have been made subject to a protective order, and this equitable consideration counsels strongly against issuing a rule to show cause."
Saulter also cites Lightfoot's letter to the judge asking Saulter not be sanctioned and said Young should've gotten the video through the FOIA request last year, but the city "improperly" denied it.
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