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A Black Chicago woman handcuffed in the nude in a wrongful raid to get $2.9 million

The Chicago City Council is expected to approved a $2.9 million settlement for Anjanette Young, a social worker who was forced to stand naked as police officers wrongly entered her home with guns drawn.

The vote on Wednesday could end a two-year legal battle between Young and the city.

"I'm comfortable with it but importantly my understanding is Ms. Young and her counsel are also comfortable with it," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said of the settlement on Tuesday, following an approval for the sum by the city's Finance Committee.

"We all saw that horrific video. We all saw the way in which she was treated. ... It's a good thing that this matter is resolved," Lightfoot said in a separate statementon Monday.

Police used a battering ram to break down Young's apartment front door on Feb. 21, 2019. The social worker had just gotten home from work and was in the middle of undressing when a dozen male officers forced their way in and began shouting a cacophony of bewildering commands and instructions.

They were looking for a man who had allegedly been seen by a police informant brandishing an illegal weapon and ammunition at the address. That was the totality of the evidence Officer Alain Aporongao had used to obtain the search warrant.

But as Young repeatedly exclaimed between sobs, standing fully nude in her living room, they had the wrong house.

A report from the Civilian Office of Police Accountabilityfound that Aporongao, who had signed the affidavit supporting the warrant application, "conducted a deficient investigation regarding the veracity of the information he received from" the unnamed informant. Apparently, he never verified that the target of the raid actually lived at the address. It turns out the man in question's girlfriend lived next door to Young but he resided down the street.

"Additionally," the report continues, "the breaching officers on the scene violated applicable knock-and-announce guidance depriving Ms. [Young] of the opportunity to dress herself before they stormed into her home. Officer Aporongao and Sgt. Wolinski further failed to present the Warrant to Ms. [Young] in a timely manner and failed to take reasonable actions to protect her dignity."

It also recommended various disciplinary actions against many of the officers involved.

The botched raid, which was captured by nine body-worn cameras, shows a terrified woman pleading for an explanation over the course of some 20 minutes before officers offer a feeble apology.

About 16 seconds into the raid, one officer attempts to offer Young some small scrap of modesty, draping a short black jacket over her shoulders. But that still leaves the entire front of her body exposed to the men swarming her apartment.

"What is going on?" Young can be heard yelling in the video.

"There's nobody else here, I live alone. I mean, what is going on here? You've got the wrong house. I live alone," she cries out.

About two minutes go by when another officer grabs a blanket and loosely wraps it around Young. She continues to ask for answers. The blanket quickly slips open exposing her breasts and lower body.

Over and over again, Young begs the officers to let her get dressed. She explains that they've been given bad information. She lives alone.

"You've got the wrong house, you've got the wrong house, you've got the wrong house," Young repeats more than 40 times.

At one point a couple of the officers appear to realize that something has gone wrong. The two step into a squad car to retrieve notes regarding the warrant.

Flipping through pages of documents, one officer can be heard saying, "It wasn't initially approved or some crap."

"What does that mean?" the second officer asks.

"I have no idea," the first officer responds. "I mean, they told him it was approved, then I guess that person messed up on their end."

Young is finally allowed to dress when a female officer, who arrived after police first entered, escorts her to Young's bedroom. About 10 minutes have passed since the beginning of the ordeal.

About 20 minutes after they burst in, officers remove the handcuffs from Young after having realized the error.

"I do apologize for bothering you tonight," an officer offers. "I assure you that the city will be in contact with you tomorrow."

It has been nearly three years since then and the city has taken various steps to thwart Young's legal pursuit of damages, including requesting sanctions against Young for sharing the video of the wrongful search.

Some city council members have stated they believe Young deserved a larger settlement for the trauma she suffered at the hands of law enforcement.

As a result of the investigations launched because of the incident, the Chicago Police Department revised its policies on raids. It now requires a ranking lieutenant or above to be at the scene when a warrant is executed. Additionally, every officer present must be wearing a body camera and at least one female officer must be present at all times.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo
Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.