Newly Released Emails Show Mayor, Staff Discussing ‘Pretty Bad’ Anjanette Young Police Raid In 2019

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CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot was told the wrongful raid on Anjanette Young’s home was “pretty bad” by her staff in November 2019, emails released Wednesday evening show.

And the emails show Lightfoot asked her staff to include her on a call so she could learn more about what happened — even though, earlier this month, Lightfoot acknowledged she was told about the raid but she didn’t “have any specific recollection” of it.

The raid — and the city’s handling of its aftermath — has become a crisis for Lightfoot. She was not mayor when it took place, but her administration fought Young’s attempts to get videos of the raid and initially sought to punish Young’s attorney after CBS2 broadcast video of the incident earlier this month.

They show Susan Lee, Lightfoot’s former deputy mayor for public safety, and other city and police officials scrambling to share information about the raid and figure out how they’d respond to CBS2’s report.

“Mayor, please see below for a pretty bad wrongful raid coming out tomorrow,” Lee wrote in a Nov. 11, 2019, email to Lightfoot of the CBS2 report.

“I have a lot of questions about this one,” Lightfoot wrote back, adding the city’s chief risk office, Tamika Puckett, onto the email chain. “Can we do a quick call about it?”

In subsequent emails, the mayor pushed for updates on the Police Department’s search warrant reforms.

“We need to escalate the training for the 2+ search warrant affiants,” Lightfoot wrote. “We cannot afford any additional hits.”

Puckett replied, “Agreed. We meet again tomorrow and will prioritize and reduce the timeline on the final training plan.”

The emails also show the back-and-forth between CBS Chicago and various FOIA officers with the city, along with attempts by the Police Department to avoid releasing the body camera footage that shocked Chicagoans earlier this month.

The city created a portal to read the emails and other documents.

In a press release accompanying the emails, the Mayor’s Office admitted they were not “exhaustive or comprehensive of a full review of all emails surrounding the raid on Ms. Young’s home.”

“They represent an initial production of materials in response to the Mayor’s public statements of making such materials available, in her ongoing commitment to transparency,” according to the Mayor’s Office.

Initially, Lightfoot said she learned of the raid from a Dec. 14 report by CBS2, which aired footage of the incident alongside an interview with Young.

But a day later, Lightfoot admitted she became “generally” aware of the news station’s ongoing coverage of wrongful raids — including the raid on Young’s home — in November 2019 from her staff.

Video from the raid shows officers bursting into Young’s home as she prepared for bed. She was unable to put on clothes or answer the door before officers barreled through.

The officers searched Young’s home as she was left naked and handcuffed. Young, visibly distressed in the video, told the officers she lives alone and they had the wrong home.

Once the video and those actions came to light, Lightfoot apologized and asked for the resignation of the city’s top lawyer. The Police Department has implemented changes to its raid policies, and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability — which hadn’t made any significant movement on its investigation of the raid after a year — will soon have a conclusion, its head has said.

Lightfoot said she would release emails that showed how she learned of the incident and has said the city will be more transparent. But the emails were released by the city about 4 p.m. Wednesday, as many were already preparing for a long holiday weekend.

The city has made a number of missteps in how it’s handled the case, adding fuel to the controversy.

Officials realized they didn’t provide Young with all of the video of the raid, finding and turning over six more videos. And Lightfoot initially denied knowing about the raid until CBS2 broadcast video of it — but then said she was informed of the raid a year ago. The city also tried to get the court to punish CBS2 and Saulter, but it’s now withdrawn those actions.

Aldermen excoriated Lightfoot and the Police Department for how they handled the raid and its aftermath during an hours-long hearing last week.

Twelve officers involved in the raid have been put on desk duty.

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December 30, 2020 at 04:30PM

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