City Drops Legal Action Against Anjanette Young's Attorney, Admits Trying To Block CBS 2 From Broadcasting Story Of Wrong Raid 'Was A Mistake'
CHICAGO (CBS) -- The city's law department has dropped a motion seeking sanctions against the attorney for Anjanette Young, after CBS 2 obtained video of a police raid in which Young was handcuffed naked as police wrongly searched her home.
It was a stunning reversal after the city faced withering criticism over how it handled the case. Originally, the city tried to block CBS 2 from airing a news report on the video and sought sanctions against Young and her attorney, Keenan Saulter. The city argued Saulter and CBS 2 were violating a confidentiality agreement with the court. The judge ruled in favor of CBS, which was not party to the order, but issued no opinion on the sanctions.
In its new filing, the city said it never intended to seek sanctions against Young, only her attorney. They are now dropping that request. The city said seeking to block a news organization from reporting a story "was a mistake and we formally withdraw that request to the court even though the court has previously ruled on that motion."
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The filing, which was signed by Corporation Counsel Mark Flessner, said the law department was "very concerned that a violation of a court order had occurred."
"Nonetheless, at Mayor Lightfoot's urging, we believe that it is appropriate to withdraw our motion for sanctions against Attorney Saulter. The Mayor believes and we agree that we should give Attorney Saulter the benefit of the doubt that he did not appreciate that the court's confidentiality order continued in full force and effect, even after the voluntary dismissal of the case in March 2020," Flessner wrote. "For these reasons, we withdraw our motion for sanctions against Attorney Saulter and urge no action against him by the court."
In a statement, the mayor said, "I again want to reiterate and affirm my commitment to righting the wrongs in this case and moving forward with full transparency and accountability."
The announcement from Lightfoot's office came less than two hours after three aldermen signed a letter calling for a special City Council meeting next Tuesday to consider ordering the Law Department to halt any efforts against Young or her attorneys after video of the wrong raid of her home was leaked, and to seek a settlement in the case. The aldermen canceled the meeting after learning of the law department's actions and assurances that the city will work quickly to resolve the case.
Late Friday night Lightfoot continued damage control over six new video tapes recovered from the wrong raid of Young, calling the mishandling of those tapes a "failure" and promising all those responsible will be identified and held accountable. Her office released the following statement:
On February 21, 2020, the City's Law Department provided Plaintiff's counsel with Body Worn Camera (BWC) video connected to the report of the incident. At that time, the Law Department clearly failed to search all potential locations where corresponding BWC video could be located. 14 videos were turned over to Ms. Young's counsel. Seventeen days later, on March 9, 2020, Plaintiff's counsel voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit against the City which halted any further searches for video by the Law Department in response to the order. Following the CBS report this week, in order to ensure complete transparency, the Mayor directed that all BWC footage be released to Ms. Young, CBS and the public. It was at that time that six additional videos were discovered.
While this failure to produce the additional six videotapes was inadvertent and not intentional, nonetheless, it was completely unacceptable. The Mayor has directed that all individuals responsible for this discovery failure be identified so they can be held accountable.
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