Anjanette Young, a Black woman and social worker from Chicago, was changing her dress at home after work in February 2019 when armed police broke into the house in a wrongful raid.
A disturbing video released by Chicago police on Thursday, showed police officers, who had the wrong address, did not allow Young, 50, to put on clothes before handcuffing her. Footage showed that she repeatedly pleaded with the officers, who are all male, and tells them that they have the wrong house.
“I don’t own a gun. I don’t even like guns. You’ve got the wrong place,” she tells the officers. “Whoever gave you that information gave you the wrong information.”
Later, one of the officers put a blanket around her, but since she was handcuffed, the blanket fell off her shoulders.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is Black, initially tried to distance herself from the incident, saying it had occurred before she took office.
But details later emerged that Lightfoot’s administration had tried unsuccessfully in federal court to block CBS station WBBM-TV from airing the footage this week. Local media also reported that Young had obtained the body camera footage only after a lawsuit with the city.
On Thursday, Lightfoot apologised for the incident and ordered a review of the case.
“Anytime a person who is a victim requests information about an incident that happened to them, our government’s obligation is to respond in a fulsome, transparent and immediate way,” Lightfoot said at a news conference.
“There’s a lot of trust that’s been breached, and I know there’s a lot of trust in me that’s been breached, and I have a responsibility to build back that trust,” she said.
The case has prompted widespread outrage from activists and civil rights groups who have slammed police’s treatment of Young as violent, racist and misogynistic – and a violation of human dignity.
“Such callousness and disregard for human worth and dignity require more than reform. This shouldn’t have happened to #AnjanetteYoung,” Bernice King, a minister and youngest daughter of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King, wrote in a tweet.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) December 16, 2020
The incident has also been compared with the killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black emergency medical technician (EMT) who was shot by police officers after they forcibly entered her house in the middle of the night with a no-knock warrant in March, as part of a drug investigation of her ex-boyfriend.
Taylor’s death became a focus of Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year and her name a rallying cry in the call for an end to police brutality.
In an interview with the CBS, Young said during her ordeal, she felt terrified and her life in danger.
“If I made one wrong move I felt like they would have shot me,” said Young, who wore a T-shirt with a picture of Taylor with the words “I am her”.