Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Proposes No-Knock Warrant Ban Unless 'Lives or Safety' in Danger

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced several new reform proposals for the city's police department on Wednesday, including a ban on no-knock warrants, unless "lives or safety" are in danger.

"All 'No-Knock' warrants will be banned from use by CPD [Chicago Police Department] except in specific cases where lives or safety are in danger," Lightfoot's office wrote in a press release. "Additionally, these 'No-Knock' warrants will now need approval from a bureau chief or higher, and will only be served by SWAT, rather than the team or officer who obtained and sought approval for the warrant."

While speaking about the new reform proposals on Wednesday, Lightfoot said, "The reforms to CPD's search warrant policy follow a detailed, comprehensive and above all transparent process which build upon our ongoing efforts to ensure Chicago's values of accountability and fundamental human dignity are respected and preserved."

The statement from Lightfoot's office notes that these reform proposals seek to prevent a repeat of a February 2019 incident when CPD officers wrongfully raided the home of Anjanette Young, a Black social worker.

In December 2020, videos were released of police raiding Young's home, and the woman repeatedly telling officers that they were in the wrong home.

Lori Lightfoot
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot arrives at Wrigley Field on April 16, 2020 in Chicago Illinois. Wrigley Field has been converted to a temporary satellite food packing and distribution center in cooperation with the Lakeville Food Pantry to support ongoing relief efforts underway in the city as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jonathan Daniel/Getty

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Under the proposed policy, officers will be required before a search warrant is executed to, according to the news release, "conduct a planning session ... to identify any potentially vulnerable people" who may be inside. Also, the policy will require an independent investigation to make sure the information used to obtain the warrant is accurate.

At a press briefing, Brown and Lightfoot said the new policy will be posted as a draft on the police department's website for 15 days so that the public can comment on it. Lightfoot said she hopes that the final policy will be implemented by the end of the month.

Lightfoot has come under intense criticism for the way she and the city responded to the botched raid at Young's home. The social worker during the several minutes she was not allowed to dress tearfully told officers who continued to search the home that they were at the wrong address.

Chicago's law department, as it had in the video of the 2014 shooting death of Black teenager Laquan McDonald, tried in court to keep the video from being made public. Then, when WBBM-TV aired the video from Young's home late last year, Lightfoot said she was only then learning about the video. She acknowledged later that she received a detailed email about the video a year earlier.

On Wednesday, Lightfoot reiterated what she said at that time. "The fact of the matter is that trust was, no question, shaken," she said.

The police department has long struggled to change its reputation for brutality and misconduct. On Wednesday, Brown suggested that the problems won't be solved simply by changing rules.

"If Ms. Young was the biggest drug kingpin we still should have treated her with dignity and respect," he said.

Last month, Young sued the city and 12 police officers, alleging that the officers engaged in a conspiracy to cover up civil rights violations. The 12 officers connected to the raid have been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of a Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigation and the city's top attorney resigned shortly after the video became public.