CHICAGO—Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) hosted an online virtual forum with the Leaders Network and others concerning wrongful police raids in Chicago.
Participants included members of the Leaders Network; Illinois State Representative 9th District Nicole “Nikki” Harvey; Senior Pastor Marshall Hatch; Betty Magness of Rainbow PUSH; Thomas L. E. Stovall of Urban Reformers and many other community leaders. Participants want a Congressional inquiry on police raids and the subsequent fallout for victims who have been traumatized in these incidents.
“Many of us are of course outraged at the recent sight of the terrorist invasion at the Capitol but imagine the trauma if instead of the ‘people’s house,’ it was your house or your apartment being invaded,” said David Cherry, president of the Leaders Network during the virtual forum.
Before you can call the police to report a home invasion, just imagine the terror and the anger when you see it is the police raiding your home,” he added.
A no-knock warrant gives police the authority to enter a home, without knocking or announcing their presence. Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown told news sources that police execute about 1,500 warrants a year but records of wrongful raids haven’t been released. However, dozens of wrongful raid lawsuits over the past two years have been filed against the Chicago Police Department.
“The need for police reform is not a new issue,” stated Pastor Ira J. Acree of Greater St. John Holiness Baptist Church. “These kinds of criminal atrocities known as ‘botched police raids’ never happen in Edison Park; they never happen on the Magnificent Mile; they never happen in Wrigleyville. These racist, illegal home invasions on Black people must stop!”
Victims of botched police raids shared their experiences as part of the virtual forum. Ms. Anjanette Young in an exclusive video from Urban Reformers said she was “humiliated, disrespected and ignored” as 12 police officers wrongfully raided her home while she stood handcuffed and naked February, 2019. The footage was released in late 2020 after Ms. Young filed a federal lawsuit.
“Congressman Davis, this is unacceptable,” Ms. Young said. “The violence and the trauma associated with no-knock warrants, mistaken and botched raids is necessary for us to take action. I’m asking all of you, policymakers on every level, to hear me, to see me and to take action on behalf of me and everyone else in the city of Chicago who has been harmed this way.”
Ms. Young’s attorney, Keenan Saulter, said during the forum that the handling of Ms. Young was the “sloppiest of sloppy police work.” In footage not released to the public, Atty. Saulter said that one of the officers even pointed a rifle at Ms. Young’s nine-pound dog and told the dog not to move. “This is not human conduct!” he argued. “There’s something fundamentally wrong with people who think like this. Our psychological analysis is ‘something’s wrong,’ it’s a fundamental problem,” said Atty. Saulter.
On Jan. 20, a statement from The Office of the Inspector General stated it is conducting a “disciplinary investigation” and review of the actions conducted by, through or on behalf of CPD, Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), the Law Department and Mayor’s Office” for how Ms. Young’s case was handled.
Many of the victims who spoke stated that they were treated like “nothing” and that the abuse needed to end. Krystal Archie, mother of three, said her home was raided several times within four months in 2020. “My children did not deserve what they went through. I cannot answer for the amount of trauma,” she said. “The police asked me to identify my children that they had already drawn several assault rifles on,” said Ms. Archie. She and her children are still recovering from the traumas of the recent botched raid.
“I am here to join everyone in the call for reform, it is completely necessary,” she said tearfully.
Ms. Archie filed a federal lawsuit against Chicago police over six months ago.
The local CBS affiliate first reported on the Archie family last July “after uncovering police officers wrongly raided her home three times by failing to independently verify tips from confidential informants— once in February, the second in April and a third time in May. Officers were searching for a man who we found has no record of ever living at that home and who the family does not know.
” According to CBS 2, video footage during one of the raids showed 14 heavily armed officers at the scene who broke through the family’s door and pointing their assault rifles at three children, ages 14, 11 and seven. CPD has stated changes to its search warrant policy including “more oversight” of the policy by requiring officers to “run the proper address checks on targets of raids through the Crime Prevention and Information Center at police headquarters to ensure they have the best available data,” reported CBS 2. But for a Black community that is often terrorized by cops, these policy changes are not enough.
“I think that it’s time for the mayor to redistribute the funds and hire Black men from Black grassroots organizations, the Nation of Islam and Black men in general to secure Black communities as well as our schools,” said forum participant Erica Dunn.
“Now, as far as hiring the Fruit of Islam, the Fruit of Islam is already trained to respect and to protect—not only do they respect Black people, but they respect all people. The Fruit of Islam would be a perfect choice to replace the officers in our schools,” she added. The Fruit of Islam (FOI) are the men of the Nation of Islam under the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and direction of Minister Louis Farrakhan.
“We never had trust in the police force because the police force started off as slave catchers. That was their job in the beginning and they still have that mindset,” said Ms. Dunn.
“We have the opportunity not only to express ourselves but also to promote our positions and points of view and I think that’s one of the things we don’t take advantage of enough,” said Rep. Davis.—Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad, Staff Writer