State Watch

Chicago mayor eyes changes to search warrant policies

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) on Wednesday unveiled proposed reforms to her city’s search warrant policies amid calls for change following the raid that wrongly targeted the home of Anjanette Young in 2019.

Lightfoot’s office said in a press release that the new proposed policies would require search warrants to be approved by a deputy chief or higher, several ranks above the lieutenant level currently required for approval.

“No-knock” warrants would also be banned except for when safety threats are present. These warrants would have to be approved by a bureau chief and be executed by SWAT, according to the guidelines.

Female officers would be required to be present when all search warrants are served and a lieutenant or higher must also be present.

Officers would be required to conduct planning sessions before search warrants are executed. An independent investigation of the raid would be performed beforehand in order to ensure the information used in the warrant was accurate. 

“The reforms to CPD’s search warrant policy follow a detailed, comprehensive and above all transparent process which build upon our ongoing efforts to ensure Chicago’s values of accountability and fundamental human dignity are respected and preserved,” Lightfoot said in the release. “What Ms. Young experienced served as an abrupt wake up call to our entire city to the reforms our city needs and our values demand. Every step we have taken and we continue to take will be with that goal in mind.”

Body cam footage from the Chicago Police Department was released last year that showed officers breaking into Young’s home and handcuffing her while she was naked. Young repeatedly told the officers that they were in the wrong home and that she lived alone.

The suspect officers were looking for was next door, but officers had been given inaccurate information. The suspect also reportedly wore an electronic monitoring device at the time of the raid.

Chicago city officials had attempted to block the release of the footage, a move that Lightfoot said she would have stopped had she been advised of it beforehand. Lightfoot originally claimed to have been unaware of the footage before it aired on television, but later acknowledged that she had been notified of it in November.

Soon after local news station CBS 2 aired the footage, Lightfoot announced that the officers involved in the raid had been “taken off the street.”

Tags Chicago Chicago Police Department Knock-and-announce Lori Lightfoot Search warrant Searches and seizures

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