New CPD Search Warrant Policies Could Raise Accountability Concerns

Significant changes are coming to the department's search warrant policies., but But there is a lot the new policy Mayor Lightfoot doesn't cover. CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini has a critical analysis.

Video Transcript

- All of the people you see here had their homes wrongly raided by Chicago Police. Their stories were just some of the dozen CBS two investigator Dave Savini has painstakingly documented over the past 2 and 1/2 years. But it wasn't until Dave exposed the body camera video of the raid involving Anjanette Young that the police department and the city finally started to take notice.

- Now, three months after that report that flamed the national outrage, significant changes are coming to the apartment search warrant policies, including a lieutenant or higher-ranking officer must be on scene overseeing the whole raid. A female officer has to be present for the serving of all search warrants. And for the first time, Chicago Police will track wrong raids that happen because of bad information in the search warrant not just wrong raids that happened because they got the wrong address. But there's a lot of new policy doesn't cover. Dave joins us now live with a critical analysis. In fact, Dave, Anjanette Young's attorney just issued a statement saying the proposed reforms fall woefully short.

DAVE SAVINI: That's right, Brad. You know, as you hear them saying they're now going to-- they're promising that they're now going to start tracking wrong raids. But that in all the new policy language is really meaningless if nobody ever gets disciplined.

LORI LIGHTFOOT: We are going to get this right.

DAVE SAVINI: Mayor Lightfoot's proposed search warrant policy may add layers of protection to keep people from having their homes raided with warrants based on reckless research and bad informants. But what we don't see spelled out is real accountability for officers who violate the rules.

LORI LIGHTFOOT: So when something like that happens, then there's going to be accountability, Dave. That's why we have policies, and we hold people accountable to those policies.

DAVE SAVINI: Nobody's been disciplined yet for any of these raids.

LORI LIGHTFOOT: I believe-- I don't know the specifics, but if that has been brought to our attention, they're under investigation.

DAVE SAVINI: We also reminded the mayor and police superintendent that our more than two-year investigation into CPD pattern of wrong raids has revealed other shortcomings, officers failing to wear or activate their body cameras, failing to give people ample time to answer the door, and time after time, pointing guns at innocent people, all violations of policy already on the books. But to date, no real discipline has been doled out. To that, Mayor Lightfoot had this to say.

LORI LIGHTFOOT: I don't have any patience for people dragging their feet on investigations that need to get done. The Inspector General went out publicly in your publication and said in July of '19 that he was doing a top-to-bottom evaluation of wrong raids, in July of '19. We haven't heard a peep from the Inspector General on this issue. Where has he been? Same thing regarding COPA.

DAVE SAVINI: So the mayor and the superintendent don't actually need the permission of COPA or the Inspector General-- COPA, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability-- to actually put all these other officers we've exposed on all these other raids to put them on desk duty while they're pending the investigation, the disciplinary investigation, like they did really quickly in the Anjanette Young case once we brought the video to light. They could have done that with those people. Now, for the record, the Inspector General did give the city, give the superintendent, his recommendations to change the policy back in January. And Superintendent Brown agreed and accepted those recommendations.

- Yeah, a significant callout, nonetheless, from the mayor there to the IG and to COPA tonight. Dave, the shortcomings of this proposal notwithstanding, it does go a long way to addressing some of the systemic failures you've been investigating that have led to all these dozens of wrong raids over-- over 2 and 1/2 years now you've been on them.

DAVE SAVINI: Well, Brad, what I see here, some of the biggest things, the biggest improvements would be if it passes is having a high-ranking person, like a deputy superintendent, sign off on these raids. That's three steps above what they used to have in rank. Also, having body cameras mandatory on every raid, that's that second eye in there so we can all see what actually happens.

And the pre-planning-- the pre-planning of these raids and actually including will there be children in there, will there be elderly people in there or people with disabilities, that's all super important stuff that they weren't doing. And then what we really haven't seen here is what are they going to do with confidential informants and how are they going to clean that up? Because they've got so much bad information from so many informants for so long, which led to a lot of these wrong raids.

- Yeah, and a female now added to each raid team or each raid. So Dave, we appreciate your work, 2 and 1/2 years. We know you will continue it. The mayor's proposal also now goes on and addresses the issue of body cameras and our ongoing reporting on how often officers fail to wear or activate them. To dive into the coverage, head to the CBS Chicago app, click on the CBS 2 Investigators tab.