On February 21, 2019, Anjanette Young arrived home from her job as a social worker and started getting ready for bed. Suddenly he is heard by the deafening voice of the Chicago police, who were banging his Ram in front of his front door.
For about 40 minutes, unclean and insecure in his home, confused and now insecure, Young repeatedly told authorities that he had the wrong house.
For about 40 minutes, unclean and insecure in his home, confused and now insecure, Young repeatedly told authorities that he had the wrong house. In fact, police were acting on an unverified tip by a confidential informant that there was a person at his address in possession of a gun and drugs. But a 23-year-old man, who was equipped with electronic monitoring equipment, did not live there and had no connection with whoever was young. After a long and inhumane phase for Young, the police realize their mistake. A sergeant offered an apology and the police attempted to fix her door on the way out.
But they did not leave him alone. Chicago police and city officials battled to suppress the truth of that night and cover up unnecessary violence and trauma, including inciting an innocent citizen and trying to get ready for bed. And they almost became successful. After Chicago officials found out that CBS was scheduled to broadcast using body camera video (with Young’s consent), the city asked a judge to block the video and for sanctions against Young’s attorney Asked for Fortunately, those attempts failed and CBS started running the story. Now, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is calling for accountability. But would he have done so if his legal team or police officers had succeeded in burying the facts?
Here’s the sad reality: Chicagoans are not surprised. For those of us who work within the criminal justice system, as defense lawyers, what happened to Anjanette Young that night is the norm. However, what is unusual is that in this case the existence of large-scale camera video of the body may actually result in accountability.
But we must also acknowledge how Young’s innocence and class are linked to his credibility as a victim. Change one of these factors – if they had the right home, if the victim was not a professional, if she was using or dealing with drugs – and perhaps we would all be less concerned about her trauma. Her experience would be consistent with an argument that believes black women should be treated with suspicion. And, most likely, his experience will never be known to the general public.
Imagine for a minute that there were no body cameras. How far will this story go? Police have to decide when to turn their cameras on or off, and although there are police instructions and state laws to prevent officers from doing so, some officers have trouble concealing or obscuring records. In fact, based on my 13 years of experience, lawyers often have to fight to get tp material evidence entitled to the preparation of their client litigation.
Change one of these factors – if they had the right home, if the victim was not a professional, if she was using or dealing with drugs – and perhaps we would all be less concerned about her trauma.
In Young’s case, his legal team received body-worn camera recordings almost two years after the incident, and only after extensive news coverage and public consumption of Young’s attack. Cameras are still not mandatory for all law enforcement personnel of the Chicago Police Department who interact with the public. Gang enforcement units regularly conduct surveys that require wearing bodyless cameras. This is highly problematic, given that it is routine for a person to come down against an officer for his word.
In a criminal case, every benefit of the doubt is still passed on to the police. Starting with an arrest, the criminal justice system works to advance a guilty plea. And this pressure lasts longer in the system. People experience a seemingly endless court process – whether detained before trial, confined in-house on electronic surveillance, or released. An open criminal charge is a burden that results in loss of work and extraordinary stress and strain.
Adding to this overwhelming atmosphere, prosecutors retract the evidence while people face mandatory minimums and other harsh sentences at trial. As a result, people overwhelmingly plead guilty (95 percent of the convictions nationwide come from guilty pleas), whether guilty or innocent, whether the police are victims of misconduct or not. result? Criminal records, as well as insulation of police malpractice. Public defenders are removed from the prosecution of such convicted pleas and most civil rights lawsuits are brought. In short, the dynamics of the court process prevent the general public from knowing the truth; It ends a system of injustice.
This is the normal course of the criminal justice system. The victims and the accused are dehumanized, and many of them are completely silenced. The state decides how their stories are told and what forms of accountability are there. Neither the victim nor the accused are focused in any process of treatment or transformational rehabilitation. It does not make us safe or healthy. In fact, it reduces the very stated goals of the criminal legal system
Ida B. Wells, one of Chicago’s most famous and lamentably beloved civil rights leaders, once said, “The right way to do right wrong is to turn the light of truth on them.” But what happens when we keep suppressing the truth?
Surprisingly, this cover-up has taken place under a mayor, a county board president, and a state attorney who are all black women, a fact that shows us how systemic and prevalent these issues are.
Not shocked, government officials are now pointing fingers at each other. With the resignation of Chicago city corporation consultant Mark Flesner this weekend, the search for the proverbial bad apple continues. During all times, reform efforts continue to ignore calls for systematic change.
Among the advocates of restorative justice, the powerful symbol of the mythical Sankofa bird is famous. The Cincoff bird cannot move forward without having to account for the past. As we are spending time moving forward, we must keep history at the center, especially the “law-and-order” policy and decades of history of police violence. This is especially true in a city like Chicago, whose police department is infamous for its brutality and racism, including the torture of 100 black men.
This means that instead of relying exclusively on the police to keep Chicago safe, we need to invest in services that will make our communities healthier.
This means that instead of relying exclusively on the police to keep Chicago safe, we need to invest in services that will make our communities healthier and stop giving more money to police departments at the expense of other important tasks Will give It also means redistributing public safety dollars to invest in local grassroots to respond to emergency calls.
In the interim, at a minimum, we require that body camera and dash camera video be stored externally and to ensure that civilian inspection structures have direct access. And if the camera or video is tampered with or unavailable, judges, prosecutors and ultimately judges and other oversight bodies should be instructed to look into the fact that whatever was in the video was the victim’s incidents in civil and criminal proceedings. Version of. Police officer.
Chicago is not a war zone. Cook County residents such as Anjanette Young are not enemy combatants. Young’s resentment over the domestic invasion and attack and subsequent cover-up is well placed and cannot be met with simple correctional corrections. Her story and the stories of countless others before it – both known and unknown – should help us allude to a future that does more than make empty promises about “reform”.