Top attorney in Chicago resigns over botched police raid of Black woman’s home
Chicago’s top attorney resigned on Sunday as city officials deal with the aftermath of a botched police raid of the home of a Black woman, who was not permitted to put on clothes before being handcuffed.
Corporation Counsel Mark Flessner announced his resignation in an email to employees, noting that he got involved last week with the case related to the police footage of a February 2019 wrongful raid into the home of social worker Anjanette Young.
“It is clear that the raid of Anjanette Young’s home was a tragedy that we must learn from,” Flessner said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. “Standing up for racial injustice and fighting for equality within our justice system are crucial matters that we must continue to work toward addressing as a community.”
The attorney did not say whether he was asked to resign.
“I’m resigning because of the firestorm around the whole tape thing,” Flessner told the Chicago Tribune in an interview. “I’m being accused of trying to hide it, which is not true.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) said Sunday that she thanked Flessner “for his service” and accepted his resignation effective immediately. The mayor had apologized last week to Young for the incident during a press conference.
“I am committed to a full review of everything that occurred surrounding this incident, will take corrective action where appropriate, and will hold people accountable,” Lightfoot said in a statement obtained by The Hill.
Chicago officials had attempted to stop a local CBS station, CBS 2, from airing body camera footage from the raid that was later determined to be in the wrong home. The station reported last week that a judge rejected the officials’ motion to prevent the footage from being aired.
The video of the controversial incident showed officers pushing into Young’s home and avoided her more than 40 statements that they were in the wrong home. Young has told CBS 2 that she did not have time to dress, and an officer at one point put a blanket over her shoulders before it fell leaving her body visible.
Police had reportedly acted on information from an informant who said a felon with a gun and ammunition lived in Young’s home, but the suspect in question was later found to live next door.
The Chicago mayor has argued that she was “blindsided” by the motion filed by her law office requesting the footage not be aired.
City lawyers had also attempted to sanction Young for violating a confidentiality agreement but withdrew that request, according to the AP. They also recently revealed that they did not provide Young’s attorney with all of the body camera footage for her lawsuit against the city.
Keenan Saulter, an attorney representing Young, did not immediately return a request for comment. Last week, he alleged city officials of trying to cover up his client’s experience.
“This city has a history of attempting to cover up unfavorable video. That’s all we’re dealing with here,” Saulter said.
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