At a press conference on February 24, 2021, the Black women of the Progressive Caucus of Chicago City Council announced their introduction of the Anjanette Young Ordinance, a measure containing a number of critical reforms to CPD’s practices in obtaining and executing search warrants, use of informants, and protocols to protect bystanders during warrant servicing.
The alderwoman were joined by Anjanette Young and her legal counsellor, Keenan Saulter, and a number of civil rights, community-based advocacy and civic organizations including: Black Lives Matter Chicago, Westside Branch of the NAACP, United Working Families, Network 49, Chicago Chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Urban Reformers, Progressive Baptist Church, Northwestern Law School, and the University of Chicago Law School.
“Having an interaction with the police department in the City of Chicago should not be one such as what I experienced on February 21, 2019,” said Anjanette Young. “I hope it becomes common for the police department to be intentional in their thoughts and in their action in how they interact with the community. I believe this ordinance will foster a better sense of safety for all families in Black and Brown communities as it relates to having any type of interaction with the police department.”
The recent wrong raid of the home of Ms. Anjanette Young garnered national attention as male police officers conducted a raid with incorrect information and left Ms. Young naked and handcuffed in her living room for 40 minutes while she repeatedly told them they had the wrong address. Meanwhile, officers stood by, failing to provide assistance and ignored Ms. Young’s repeated pleas—approximately 43 in total—that CPD was in the wrong home.
Alderwoman Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) added, “This is undoubtedly one of the most disturbing police blunders and human rights violations that I have seen in my more than two decades of service to this city.”
The Anjanette Young Ordinance calls for the elimination of no-knock warrants and for an officer to wait no less than 30 seconds to enter a residence after knocking and announcing themselves when executing a search warrant.
The ordinance also strengthens the processes that officers are required to follow in obtaining a search warrant. Per this ordinance, officers must assess the credibility of informants, seek supplemental and corroborative information, and receive supervisory approval before obtaining any search warrant.
“Wrongful raids, predominantly conducted in Black and Brown communities, traumatize our citizens,” said Alderwoman Maria Hadden (49th Ward). “They continue to chip away at the relationship we have between government and communities; at the relationship between the police and our communities.”
For decades, Chicagoans have seen poorly executed, disastrous raids traumatize our communities, and police data shows Black and Brown neighborhoods disproportionately targeted in search warrants.
“In approximately two weeks, we arrive at the one-year anniversary of the murder of Breonna Taylor who similarly experienced a wrongful raid,” said Aislinn Pulley with Black Lives Matter Chicago. “What happened to Breonna Taylor could have easily happened to Ms. Young. This is a moment to dig at the root and not pass superficial reforms, but to challenge the status quo.
The Anjanette Young Ordinance stipulates that the Chicago Police Department use the least intrusive tactics when executing a search warrant and establish measures that protect individuals’ dignity and privacy.
“Too often women, especially women of color, are ignored,” said Alderwoman Jeanette Taylor (20th Ward). “Ms. Young, while I know this is a hard time for you, keep the charge going. Know that the Black women of the Progressive Caucus and women across the country stand with you.”
The Anjanette Young Ordinance further stipulates that the Chicago Police Department establish tactics that mitigate harm against children and other vulnerable people, including those with disabilities, that may be on site when they enter a property.
“The painful reality is that we are expending much of our energy to fight for the humanity of how Black people are treated in Chicago,” said Kimberly Egonmwan with the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Chicago.
“We stand united with our sister Anjanette Young in saying that she has the same right to live peacefully and not be assaulted with the police department in her own home.”
The ordinance, once passed, will protect Chicagoans from botched raids and provide officers with additional protection by ensuring all the information collected in the warrant is correct and corroborated before being executed.
“The indignity that Ms. Young experienced has been illuminated in so many ways over the past year,” said Alderwoman Sophia King (4).
“The virus of racism is much more deadly and contagious than this virus called COVID. We need to seize this opportunity and work to make sure that this type of indignity doesn’t continue to happen.”