Today in Bronzeville, about two hundred people gathered at the Chicago Police Department headquarters to stand up for Anjanette Young, a social worker whose house was raided by the CPD last year.
According to CBS Chicago, this raid follows a pattern by the Chicago Police. In 2017, a similar situation happened to Gilbert and Hester Mendez. In a separate story, CBS Chicago reported that the officers barged into the Mendez’s home and began “shouting profanities, and pointing assault rifled and handguns at the couple and their sons” (sic).
Afterward, the family planned to file a federal lawsuit against the city, which cited: “trespassing, assault, battery, excessive force, false imprisonment, conducting an unlawful search of the Mendez family home, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” Additionally, the warrant that police used to raid the Mendez home allegedly had a neighbor’s name on it, and even after Hester Mendez told them they had the wrong house, they still continued to search.
This would be repeated with Anjanette Young two years later.
On February 21, 2019, Young was undressing after work when police used a battery ram to enter her home, NBC News reported. Although Young repeatedly told them they had the wrong house, they did not leave.
They were acting on botched information from a confidential informant that led them to Young’s house. However, according to NBC News, Young had no connection to the suspect. “After a prolonged and dehumanizing period of time for Young, police apparently realized their mistake. A sergeant offered an apology and the police left, attempting to fix her door on the way out,” wrote Emmanuel Andre, community defense attorney and restorative justice practitioner at Northside Transformative Law Center.
Yet, the story does not end here. After the raid, Young spent a year trying to obtain video footage of what happened. When CBS Chicago learned of the incident, the CPD tried to block them from airing the footage and impose sanctions on Young’s lawyer, but these efforts were unsuccessful.
When news of this incident broke, people were outraged by what happened, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Yet, according to CBS Chicago, Lightfoot's staff told her that Young's and "other raids were brought to her attention in November of 2019.”
After that, some began drawing parallels to the infamous Laquan McDonald case with former mayor Rahm Emanuel. In this case, Emanuel’s office was accused of covering up the dashcam footage that showed Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald sixteen times. This led to the protest chant, “16 shots and a cover up!”
One Twitter user even went on to say that this will define Lightfoot’s tenure as mayor, as the McDonald case defined Emanuel’s. Really, when you dig into the details of Young’s case, that hypothesis makes sense.
Not only did the officers have the wrong house and act on bad information, but they raided Young’s home while she was naked, which humiliated her. In a year where Breonna Taylor’s death reminded us about the lack of humanity Black women face, this is a grim repetition of similar circumstances.
Police also had the wrong home in Taylor’s case, so Young’s situation could have been fatal. Moreover, instead of acknowledging the wrongdoing, the CPD acted to suppress the information from coming out, knowing the controversy it would stir.
Credit: Raven Geary
The reality is, police brutality is messy. Not only does it take lives, but it can destroy them as well. When we look at cases like Young and Mendez, we are reminded that even when cases do not end in death, the trauma people face is everlasting. In the Mendez case, one of the sons said “he will never forget the emotional pain he suffered that night” watching his father handcuffed and having a gun pointed at him.
For these reasons, abolitionists are calling for the defunding and abolishment of police. When protecting and serving comes with terms and conditions, what other choice is there? ~ℝ
Javanna Plummer, Rwebel in Chief
Javanna is the editor of "Rwebel Magazine," the architect behind "Rwebel Radio," and the pioneering force of "Xscape." Through her words, Javanna hopes to inspire creativity, passion and forward-thinking.
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