Almost two years ago, the Chicago police raided the home of Anjanette Young with their guns drawn and a warrant in search of a suspect. Young, who had just returned from her shift at the hospital as a social worker, was naked at the time the police broke down her door.
Startled and demanding to know what was going on, she was handcuffed – while still naked – and ignored while her home was searched. It later turned out to be a botched raid. They got the wrong house. Following the incident, Young filed a lawsuit against the police.
Young, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) she filed last year, also requested the bodycam footage of the incident be turned over so the public could also see what actually happened that night, CBS 2 reported, adding that they also filed the same request. The Chicago Police Department, however, refused to release the footage.
A court recently ordered the police department to turn the videos over to Young as part of her lawsuit. “I feel like they didn’t want us to have this video because they knew how bad it was,” she told the news outlet. “They knew they had done something wrong. They knew that the way they treated me was not right.”
Per the footage of nine body cameras, a group of male officers reportedly barged into Young’s home after breaking her door with a battering ram on the night of February 21, 2019. The social worker, who had just arrived from work, was naked in her bedroom when she initially heard the noise from beyond her door.
“It was so traumatic to hear the thing that was hitting the door,” she told CBS 2. “And it happened so fast, I didn’t have time to put on clothes.”
The officers, who entered her home with their weapons drawn, made it known they had a search warrant and shouted: “Hands up, hands up, hands up.” Naked, Young complied with their orders despite being startled and terrified. She was then handcuffed while still naked.
In the footage, Young asked the officers: “What is going on? There’s nobody else here, I live alone. I mean, what is going on here? You’ve got the wrong house. I live alone.”
“It’s one of those moments where I felt I could have died that night,” she told CBS 2. “Like if I would have made one wrong move, it felt like they would have shot me. I truly believe they would have shot me.”
Young was later covered with a short coat but it did not completely hide her nakedness. An officer later covered her with a blanket. Crying, Young continued to ask the officers what was going on.
“They just threw something over me, and my hands are behind me and I’m handcuffed,” she said. “So there’s no way for me to secure the blanket around me.”
Elsewhere in the video, Young was heard telling the officers they were in the wrong house. “Tell me what’s going on,” she asked. “You’ve got the wrong house, you’ve got the wrong house, you’ve got the wrong house.”
A sergeant then asked her: “There’s no one else who lives in this apartment?”, to which she replied: “No, no one else lives here.” CBS 2 reported Young told the officers they were in the wrong home at least 43 times. She said the officers also ignored her when she demanded answers.
“When I asked them to show me, when I asked them to tell me what they are doing in my house, and their response to me was just, shut up and calm down, that’s so disrespectful,” she said. Young was allowed to dress after a female officer arrived 13 minutes later, but she was handcuffed again afterward.
Per investigations from the news outlet, the police could have avoided wrongly breaking into Young’s home had they cross-checked to confirm if that was the address of the suspect they were after. They obtained the search warrant and conducted the raid following a tip from a confidential informant.
The informant in question told the lead officer of the raid – known as affiant – that he had recently seen the suspect with a gun and ammunition a day before the raid. After the informant confirmed the identity of the suspect after the officer ran his image through the database, the informant took the officer to the suspect’s alleged location – which was a wrong address. Without running any further background checks, a search warrant was obtained.
CBS 2, however, reported the officers could have accurately located the suspect, who was a known felon, because he was wearing an electronic monitoring device. The suspect also lived in the residential complex next to Young’s. “That piece of paper [search warrant] gives them the right to, you know, that says you can do X, Y, Z based on what’s on that paper,” Young told the news outlet. “So if you get it wrong, you are taking 100 percent control of someone else’s life and treating them in a bad way.”
After the police realized they were in the wrong home getting to the end of the raid, they freed Young. “I do apologize for bothering you tonight,” the sergeant said. “I assure you that the city will be in contact with you tomorrow.” The sergeant also asked: “Is there anything I can do right now?”, to which Young replied: “Just leave and let me move on, this is so crazy.”
Young was only contacted by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) nine months after the February 2019 incident, and that was only after CBS 2 first reported the story. COPA said they’re still looking into the incident.
“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,” Keenan Saulter, Young’s attorney, said. “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.”
Prior to the footage being aired by CBS 2, the law department of the office of Mayor Lori Lightfoot filed a federal motion seeking to block the station from showing it. Their request was, however, denied by a judge.