Alderwomen

Alds. Sophia King (4th), Leslie Hairston (5th) and Jeanette Taylor (20th)

With two other Black female members of the Progressive Reform Caucus, Alds. Sophia King (4th), Leslie Hairston (5th) and Jeanette Taylor (20th) introduced the Anjanette Young Ordinance to City Council, which would ban the police from executing no-knock warrants in the city.

Introduced on Feb. 24 and assigned to the Public Safety Committee, it would also significantly legislate warrants and informants, mandating that officers "use tactics that are the least intrusive to people's home, property and person and least harmful to people's physical and emotional health" and that the police department record and publicize data about each residential warrant executed, including the officers involved. 

Warrants could not be issued solely on the basis of information provided by an informant, and officers would have to seek warrant approval from at least a police lieutenant before it would be issued. 

The ordinance's introduction comes after the botched police raid that affected Anjanette Young, which came to light in December. Her attorney Keenan Saulter, present at the Progressive Caucus' press conference announcing its introduction, is suing the city on her behalf after multiple male officers entered her house incorrectly on a no-knock warrant while she was nude, ignoring her protests that they had the wrong location for 40 minutes. 

“Having an interaction with the police department in the City of Chicago should not be one such as what I experienced on Feb. 21, 2019,” Young said. “I hope it becomes common for the police department to be intentional in their thoughts and in their action in how they interact with the community. I believe this ordinance will foster a better sense of safety for all families in Black and Brown communities as it relates to having any type of interaction with the police department.”

Per the ordinance, search warrants would be executed so that people inside would only be searched by officers of their gender identity and only conducted between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Officers would have to tell dispatch if children were present, and officers would be prohibited from pointing firearms at, handcuffing or restraining children or their parents, relatives or caregivers in their presence. 

Furthermore, officers would be prohibited from pointing forearms from any person unless that person presented an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm.

Ald. King, who chairs the caucus, said the issue is personal to all her fellow members on the call: "We saw ourselves, our mothers, sisters and daughters in Ms. Young's tragedy."

King said what Young experienced has been illuminated over the pandemic year and killings of George Floyd and other African Americans. 

"While these incidents have appeared to have awakened a country and a world, shown us who is essential, made us appreciate the air we breath and popularize the Black Lives Matter movement, they are not new to us or our people," she said. "As the events at the Capitol have revealed, we have an uphill battle that is entrenched in the very fabric of our country. We can't bask in other folks' recent revelations right now, because the struggle has been too long and too often. I continue to say that the virus of racism is much more deadly or contagious than this virus called COVID."

Ald. Hairston called the botched raid on Young's house, which became a scandal when it came out that city officials had tried to block release of the officers' body camera footage, "undoubtedly one of the most disturbing police blunders and human rights violations that I have seen in my more than two decades of service to this city."

"We are Black each and every day, and what we face no one else faces," she said. "What we are attempting to do today is to continue to dismantle the systemic racism in the city of Chicago. For too long, we have been in denial about the condition in Chicago, its segregation, its disparate impact and its racist policies and practices against Black people and now communities of color."

She said history has shown that White Americans "have consistently lied, cheated or stolen to get what they want, be it power, money, land, warrants, confessions, convictions," and that the country lies to itself in the perception of Black and Brown people's inhumanity across generations, informing policy.

"For decades," Hairston said, "Black people in the city of Chicago have been fighting police about abuse, discrimination and illegal policies and practices. They have all been met over the decades with denial, excuses and blatant lies about its existence — until the video. Irrefutable. 

"What this ordinance does is provide new guidelines and practices that hold the police accountable for their actions," she said. "The policies within the Anjanette Young Ordinance are just an initial list of critical changes we need to reform the procedures and protocols at the Chicago Police Department — issues like incommunicado detention, officers turning off or never turning on body cameras and unconstitutional surveillance are also on the horizon. We need a holistic approach to reforming our public safety in the city of Chicago, and that is also why we need a civilian safety oversight of the police board."

Ald. Taylor said the only thing that matters to her is protecting Black women, expressing her amazement at their ability to effect political change in the nation and social change around Chicago, "and yet we sit and watched for minutes of Ms. Young being degraded like she didn't matter."

Taylor thanked Young for standing up, urging her to "keep the charge going" and promising her the continued support of Black women in the Progressive Caucus in women nationwide.

"Any elected official regardless of race who does not see this as an injustice and does not think believe that things were wrong," Taylor said, "you are what's wrong with this country. Ms. Young, you are in my thoughts and prayers, and I also want you to remember, while you did this for yourself, sisters like Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd and Breonna Taylor thank you as well. Because unlike them, you are alive to speak your truth."

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