Several Chicago police officers should be suspended or terminated for their role in a dehumanizing raid of an innocent woman’s home two years ago, a new report from the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability recommends.
Anjanette Young was a Black social worker, who just got home from work when officers entered her home. The woman was alone and naked. She hadn’t been charged with any crimes. Police had incorrectly identified an apartment when they executed a search warrant.
Footage from police body cameras, released in December 2020 by CBS Chicago, shows officers smashing Young’s door with a battering ram and barging into her home with guns drawn. The officers handcuffed Young while she was naked and covered her in blankets. She cried, sobbed and yelled at them that they had gone to the wrong house.
“It’s one of those moments where I felt I could have died that night,” Young told WBBM-TV. Young said, “It felt like they’d shoot me if one of my mistakes was made.” “I truly believe that they would have shot at me.”
Young was allowed by police to change into clothes within 10 minutes. Police then held Young in handcuffs for ten more minutes, before deciding that she did not have any connection with the subject of the warrant. They stayed at her house for more than an hour.
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The report raises nearly 100 allegations of misconduct against fifteen involved officers, concluding that many of them violated applicable laws and policies, including “knock-and-announce guidance” that failed to let Young clothe herself before police entered her home.
According to the report, three officers did not activate their body camera. It was found that none of the officers had completed more than an hour of training on warrants since they left police academy.
Alain Aporongao was the one who signed the warrant application affidavit. Aporongao didn’t cooperate with the investigation and refused to identify other department employees who helped him with the warrant investigation and approval,the report says.
It also noted that Sergeant Alex Wolinski, who with Aporongao, didn’t present the search warrant to Young and “failed to take reasonable actions to protect her dignity” in keeping her handcuffed naked for at least 10 minutes.
Aporongao should be given a 180-day suspension and Wolinski, a one-year suspension. It also recommended Sergeant Cory Petracco, who was not present at the raid, but supervised Aporongao and “is held out as a leader” in the department, face a minimum year-long suspension. The office recommended that the suspensions could include separation from the department.
CBS Chicago reported that Police Superintendent David Brown has already moved to terminate Wolinski.
Additionally, the report recommended suspending five additional officers for a period of one to sixty days. This did not include termination.
A 2021 report by researchers from several universities found that white Chicago police officers make more stops, more arrests and use force more often than Black and Hispanic officers facing similar situations. Male officers take those enforcement actions more often than female officers, and the trends were more pronounced when white officers interacted with Black people.
Out of the 15 officers and sergeants involved in the raid at Young’s home, nine were white, four were white Hispanics, and two were non-white, the report says. All were male, except for one.
Young’s experience “reveals problems far more pervasive than any individual incident of officer misconduct,” the report says. “The intrusion against her person and the invasion of her home implicate other concerns, including lack of adequate training and supervision surrounding the Department’s use of search warrants and the disproportionate impact of police actions on people of color.