Mayor Lori Lightfoot Proposes Search Warrant Reforms

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On Wednesday, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown joined Mayor Lori Lightfoot in unveiling an array of proposed reforms to the policies outlining what happens before, during and after search warrants are executed by Chicago police officers, reports the Chicago Sun Times. The goal is to rebuild public trust shattered by the now-infamous video of Anjanette Young standing naked before officers who waited 45 minutes before allowing the trembling social worker to get dressed when a female officer was called to her home to help. Lightfoot herself attracted condemnation when it was revealed that her administration had withheld bodycam footage of the incident and that she had changed her story about what she knew and when she knew it regarding the February 2019 raid on Young’s home.

Among the proposals are guidelines requiring that no-knock warrants will be prohibited except in “specific cases where lives or safety are in danger.” And even then, they must be approved by a “bureau chief or higher”; at least one female officer, as well as a “lieutenant or higher” must be present when search warrants are served; and any search warrant served at a wrong address or one obtained using information that turns out to be false will be “considered a wrong raid.” That would trigger an internal investigation, a “critical incident after-action review” and a report to the presiding judge. Keenan Saulter, Young’s attorney, said the mayor’s changes fall “woefully short” of the reforms Chicagoans need to “feel secure in their homes from these violent and often wrongful raids,” and urged the mayor to, instead, support the ordinance introduced last week by Black female aldermen banning no-knock warrants and requiring all other search warrants be executed in the “least intrusive” manner possible to prevent property damage and protect the “physical and emotional health” of those involved. Saulter also noted 3,000 of the 6,800 home raids conducted by Chicago police officers from 2016 through 2019 “did not result in a single arrest.”

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