Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot apologized for the "colossal mess" she said followed a Chicago police raid that left a woman, naked in her home, handcuffed and traumatized.
"As a human being, as a black woman and as a parent - yes, I am mayor - but absent that reality, I could have easily been Miss Young and I could put myself in her place...all of that is horrifying to me."
Anjanette Young and her attorney say police raided the wrong home on Feb. 19, 2019 as they served a search warrant. Recently released video showed officers handcuffed Young while she stood naked for several minutes, despite her repeated cries that they were in the wrong home.
"Miss Young's dignity that she and all of us deserve was taken from her in those moments. Her obvious trauma and distress were real, profound and resonate deeply with me," Lightfoot said Wednesday. "We should all be shaken by what she was forced to experience through no fault of her own... Miss Young, knowing that my words will not change what happened to you and your family almost two years ago, I nonetheless say to you I am sorry."
Videos of the Feb. 19, 2019 incident that Young obtained as part of her lawsuit against the city were released this week and obtained by NBC 5 Wednesday.
Lightfoot's administration tried to prevent the footage from being aired on television in an emergency court filing Monday, which a federal judge rejected.
Lightfoot said she first learned of the incident, which happened before she became mayor, following media coverage Tuesday and was "completely and totally appalled."
"I made it very clear to the corporation council that I will not be blindsided by issues like this," Lightfoot said Wednesday. "Had I been advised that this was in the works I would have stopped it in its tracks. This is not how we operate."
Young said she is still dealing with the aftermath from the incident nearly two years later.
"This is so terrifying for me that two years later, I'm still dealing with it," Young said. "That the city has spent the last two years and, for lack of better words, is telling me that they did nothing wrong."
Young spoke publicly Wednesday amid what her attorney and city activists said was an attempt to cover up the video of the raid, which her attorney described as "a very eerily similar situation" to the one that killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.
"Laquan McDonald tragically lost his life. Breonna Taylor tragically lost her life. Miss Young was violated and by the grace of God, she's here to tell her story," said attorney Keenan Saulter. "But Laquan McDonald and Breonna Taylor should have been instrumental in the decisions that the city made about this video, and in the ways that they approached this case. How, after seeing the horrific nature in which Breonna Taylor was murdered in her own home - in a very eerily similar situation - how could you know that that occurred during this calendar year, that caused global level protest during a global pandemic, and think it was okay to try to suppress?"
In the video, police officers can be heard knocking before shouting "police search warrant."
Young can be heard crying and screaming, “You've got the wrong house, you've got the wrong house.”
According to her attorney, Young repeated that phrase 43 times during the raid.
An officer ultimately threw a blanket over her shoulders at one point, but because she was handcuffed the blanket slipped off her shoulders, leaving her exposed again.
The scene was captured by body cameras officers on the scene were wearing.
"I pride myself in being a law-abiding citizen. I've always lived my life being truthful to what is right and wrong," Young said. "Working as a social worker, I've spent over 20 years working with families who deal with trauma, helping families through hard situations. And it's been very surreal and overwhelming to live this experience."
Neither the police department nor COPA would comment on the investigation. COPA spokesman Ephraim Eaddy would only say that under city policy the only videos it will release before an investigation is complete are those in which an officer has fired a weapon or in incidents when there is great bodily injury.
Saulter blasted the city's handling of the case as he alleged police raided the wrong home.
"There's no justification for withholding videos under the guise of saying there's an ongoing investigation," Saulter said Wednesday. "How long does that investigation take?"
On Tuesday, Lightfoot blamed COPA for not releasing it earlier.
“I respect the independence of COPA, but give me a break that we didn't put this video out in all this time," she said at an unrelated press briefing. “It's ridiculous, it really is.”
In a statement released later Tuesday, Lightfoot said she had only just become aware of the incident and saw the video for the first time earlier that day.
She noted a new search warrant policy took effect in January, requiring additional CPD supervisory review and sign off before a search warrant can be sought from a judge and a separate verification step to ensure the property is the correct location.
“I have further directed a review of how this matter was handled by various city departments to determine that there was compliance with city procedures," her statement read. “Since this matter is the subject of litigation and an open COPA investigation, I will have no further comment.”
Still, both Young and her attorney questioned Lightfoot's handling of the aftermath.
"A mayor that ran on transparency, a city corporation council that is clearly out of control, not reporting details to the mayor. Something has to change," Saulter said. "And the change can't be to attack another innocent woman first in her home, and then in court to say she violated a protective order. How is that the response? Has there been any discipline of any police officer for violating this woman's privacy?"