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CHICAGO (CBS) — Nine months after launching an investigation into “possible misconduct” by city officials for how they handled the botched raid on the home of Anjanette Young and the aftermath, Inspector General Joseph Ferguson said his office has completed its probe, and will send its report to the mayor’s office next week.
“We’re done with the investigation and it will go to the administration next week, we hope,” Ferguson, who is stepping down on Oct. 15, after 12 years as the city’s top watchdog, told aldermen at a budget hearing on Thursday.
Ferguson said the Lightfoot administration will have “a period of time” to review and respond to his office’s report on the probe before any findings are made public.
In January, Ferguson’s office announced it was “conducting a disciplinary investigation” into “all involved City actors” involved in the raid and its fallout, although they would not be duplicating the Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s investigation into possible misconduct by the officers directly involved in the raid.
“OIG’s investigation may include inquiry into actions conducted by, through or on behalf of [the Chicago Police Department, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA)], the Law Department, and the Mayor’s Office,” the inspector general’s office said at the time. “OIG’s work may further include programmatic and policy issues and recommendations of broader application that may be identified in the course of the investigation.”
COPA announced in April that it had completed its 18-month investigation of the raid, and had forwarded its findings to Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, who will review the COPA recommendations before determining whether the department will seek any disciplinary action against any of the officers.
A full report on COPA’s investigation — including its findings and recommendations regarding officer misconduct — will be posted on its website after Brown reviews the report, and officers have been served with disciplinary charges.
No report has yet been made public regarding COPA’s investigation, nearly six months later, but at the time the agency completed its probe, COPA said it had produced nearly 100 allegations of misconduct against more than a dozen officers who took part in the raid.
The OIG’s investigation was announced one month after CBS 2 first aired the disturbing body camera video showing officers entering Young’s home and handcuffing her while she was naked. The video of the raid itself sparked national outcry. It revealed how officers treated Young as she begged for answers and told them more than 43 times that they were in the wrong place.
A separate investigation was launched by COPA in 2019 into the officers who wrongly raided Young’s home in February that same year. The officers failed to do basic police investigative work to verify a tip from a confidential informant. CBS 2 Investigators found the suspect lived next door and was wearing a police electronic monitoring device.
The city’s attempts to stop CBS 2 from airing the story and keep the police body camera video hidden left Mayor Lightfoot’s office in a state of damage control for weeks. Hours before CBS 2’s story aired, the Chicago Law Department filed a motion in federal court in an effort to kill the story. CBS 2 aired the video anyway. As the story was airing, a federal judge denied the city’s request.
Previously, the city denied Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the video from CBS 2 and Young, respectively.
In the aftermath, Lightfoot initially claimed in a news conference she wasn’t aware of the video and the city did not deny Young’s FOIA. CBS 2 challenged Lightfoot on that issue, having seen Young’s request.
CBS 2’s reporting – and the national condemnation of the raid as a result – also pressured Lightfoot to release hundreds of emails between her staff from the last two years. The emails revealed what CBS 2 previously reported – Lightfoot was aware of the raid and disturbing video. But instead of addressing the raid itself, the emails from 2019 show how her staff and police attempted to block the release of the video and focused on minimizing the negative press.
In 2019, as result of CBS 2’s years-long investigation into wrong raids by CPD, the OIG launched an audit of the police department’s policies and practices of search warrant executions. Its latest investigation into the key players involved in the handling of Young’s case is now part of that.
“…OIG is committed to ensuring that, as a whole, the various efforts underway provide the robust, thoroughgoing accountability called for by this incident and its aftermath with as much transparency as the law allows,” the OIG’s statement said.
Lightfoot has said she welcomes the inspector general’s investigation, and has enlisted retired Judge Ann Claire Williams and her law firm Jones Day to conduct a separate review of the case.
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