As the city of Chicago files a motion asking the court to dismiss the wrongful raid lawsuit against the city brought by Anjanette Young, the victim at the center of the case is calling out Mayor Lori Lightfoot for what her attorney is calling a “frivolous” legal maneuver by the city’s hired attorneys.
“I absolutely feel betrayed by the mayor,” Anjanette Young said during a news conference on June 16.
Lightfoot apologized to Young personally for the February 2019 raid late last year and even issued an executive order putting restrictions on future police raids.
The mayor recounted her apology at a press conference soon afterward.
“I want to tell Ms. Young (that) I am deeply sorry and troubled that her home was invaded, and that she had to face the humiliation and trauma that she suffered. That is just not right,” Lightfoot said. “It simply should not have happened. And I will make sure that there is full accountability for what took place.”
During the botched raid on Feb. 21, 2019, Young was in her home when police used a battering ram to break down her front door, then rushed towards her with guns drawn. Police placed Young, who was naked, in handcuffs, and ransacked her home. Young stood naked, yelling at least 43 times that the officers were in the wrong home until a female officer arrived and took her into another room to change after 13 minutes had passed.
Police entered the home on the basis of a tip from a confidential informant, although they hadn’t verified information like the suspect’s address before executing the warrant. They were seeking a felon, although the 23-year-old man they were looking for lived in the home next door to Young and the two had no connection. Young was not charged with any wrongdoing.
Lightfoot initially claimed she didn’t learn about the raid until December but later admitted that she was aware of it previously but hadn’t realized it was the same case until reviewing the footage for the first time.
In December it was also revealed that the city of Chicago tried to block CBS2 from airing footage of the raid at the last minute before it was televised, although a judge denied the motion. Lightfoot admitted that the attempt to block the footage was “a mistake.”
In April, the city rejected Young’s settlement demand and countered with a $0 offer, ABC7 reported.
According to Young’s attorney, what the city then offered during mediation last month regarding the raid was also not acceptable.
“We did have a mediation, and you know that the biggest number that they came up with was less than half of the largest settlement they paid out for a very similar case,” said Keenan Saulter, Young’s attorney. The city settled that previous case for $2.5 million.
Now Lightfoot is “threatening to dismiss this case,” Young said.
The city’s law department said in a statement on Wednesday that it hoped to reach a settlement that balances both addressing the wrongful raid and fairness to taxpayers. “We were hopeful that a robust discussion moderated by an experienced former federal judge would lead to a fair and judicious outcome – one that would have fairly addressed Ms. Young’s traumatic experience, but also fair to the taxpayers,” the statement said. According to the city, they were left with no choice but to take the matter to court after Saulter rejected their offer.
But Saulter said the fight for justice isn’t over. “Regardless of how long it takes us to get to trial, how long it takes us to get justice. We’re going to demand and fight for justice,” he said.
According to a copy of the motion to dismiss obtained by Atlanta Black Star, reasons why the city shouldn’t be held accountable for the botched raid include that the search warrant was valid, that Young’s detainment was brief, lawful, and free of assault, and that there was no “civic conspiracy among the officers.”
Saulter said in a statement to Atlanta Black Star after the motion was filed: “As I indicated on Wednesday, Mayor Lightfoot, Celia Meza and their expensive outside attorneys continue to play games and waste taxpayer money while filing frivolous Motions to Dismiss. At the same time, this is a case that Mayor Lightfoot has repeatedly indicated that she would make Ms. Young whole and that she would direct her legal department to resolve this case. It is clear that the Mayor’s words are nothing but political talking points devoid of candor or action. It’s a sad day for Ms. Young and the citizens of Chicago.”