Anjanette Young, a 20-year clinical social worker, had just returned home from work on a chilly Chicago winter night.
It was the evening of Feb. 21, 2019. She had undressed to change clothes and watch an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” when the tranquility of her quiet home was quickly disrupted.
Police used a battering ram to break down her front door and burst into her residence in Chicago’s West Loop.
Several male officers rushed in with weapons drawn. When they encountered her, Young was standing in her living room stunned and bewildered.
She was stark naked.
“It happened so fast, I didn’t have time to put on clothes,” Young told CBS 2 in Chicago.
“I’m just standing there, I mean terrified, humiliated,” she said, “Not even understanding why, in that moment, that this is happening to me.”
It was all part of a raid that was based off a tip from a confidential informant. But police failed to independently verify the information provided, including the suspect’s address, before executing the search warrant.
The 23-year-old man they were actually searching for lived in a residence next door to Young and the two had no connection, according to an CBS 2 investigative report.
Young, 50, was guilty of no wrongdoing and had no involvement in the incident police were investigating. They raided the wrong home.
And the ordeal was captured on police bodycam video, which CBS 2 first aired Monday night.
Young shared her story with the Chicago TV station, and reviewed the bodycam video she received from the Chicago Police Department through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Young walked reporters through the footage, which spanned more than 20 minutes, and relived the “surreal” situation.
Police handcuffed Young, pointed guns, ransacked her home and yelled at her, all while she was naked and telling officers over and over that they were in the wrong house.
“Oh my god, this cannot be right. How can this be legal,” she screamed in the video
“What’s going on?” she asked repeatedly.
“Who are you looking for?” she questioned later.
“I live alone. No one lives here with me,” she screamed several times.
According to CBS 2, she told officers they were in the wrong home at least 43 times.
But the officers ignored Young’s pleas. They continued to badger her and search her home while she stood handcuffed, naked and in tears.
At one point, an officer threw a short coat over her shoulders, but it did little to cover her frontal region. Later, police threw a blanket over her, but the blanket continued to flap open, exposing Young’s body.
A sergeant could be heard telling the woman to “relax.”
But a distraught and helpless Young sobbed, horrified at what was happening to her.
“It’s one of those moments where I felt I could have died that night,” she said, her voice trembling with emotion. “If I would have made one wrong move, it felt like they would have shot me. I truly believe they would have shot me.”
Police sought a known felon when they raided her home. An informant told investigators the man had a gun and ammunition in his residence and gave officers Young’s address.
The man they were looking for was actually awaiting trial and his listed address was next door to Young’s.
CBS reported that investigators failed to do “basic checks” to confirm the informant’s tip. In fact, the actual suspect was on home confinement and wore an electronic tracking device.
But instead of his home, nearly a dozen police officers swarming into Young’s.
“OK, OK. You don’t have to shout,” a police sergeant told Young as she tried to explain to him that she’d been living in her home alone for four years and didn’t know the suspect they were looking for.
“I don’t have to shout?” an incredulous Young replied. “This is f–king ridiculous. You’ve got me in handcuffs, I’m naked, you kicked my house in. And I keep telling you you’ve got the wrong place.”
It wasn’t until 13 minutes into the video that a female officer arrived to the scene and took Young to her room to get dressed. The officer put the handcuffs back on Young afterward and police continued questioning her about a gun in the residence.
After finally realizing their error, the police sergeant apologized to Young and officers unsuccessfully attempted to use a hammer to fix the front door they’d destroyed moments prior.
Chicago city attorneys filed an emergency motion in federal court Monday night, seeking an injunction to keep CBS 2 from airing the video just hours before it was televised. A judge denied the city’s motion as the video was being broadcast, CBS 2 reported.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Police Department has revealed little detail about the raid citing an ongoing investigation by the department’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). CBS indicates that investigation was not launched until nine months after the incident occurred when the first story about Young’s ordeal was released online. The investigation remains open.
Young has filed a lawsuit against the police department for the traumatizing experience. Her attorney, Keenan Saulter, wondered what have happened if police weren’t raiding the home of a Black woman on the outskirts of Chicago’s notorious west side.
“I think screwup is being too kind, because ultimately this is a constitutional rights issue,” Saulter told CBS 2. “If this had been a young woman in Lincoln Park by herself in her home naked, a young white woman — let’s just be frank — if the reaction would have been the same? I don’t think it would have been. I think [officers] would have saw that woman, rightfully so, as someone who was vulnerable, someone who deserved protection, someone who deserved to have their dignity maintained. They viewed Ms. Young as less than human.”