CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office announced new, stronger search warrant policies Friday following wrong raids exposed by the CBS 2 Investigators.
Officials said the new policy will “increase accountability in requesting and executing search warrants.” The new guidance will go into effect on Dec. 16
“The intrusion that search warrants legally authorize justifies greater disclosure and transparency to ensure that a search warrant is carried out on the correct individual and location,” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said in a written statement. “Going forward to receive our signoff, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will require law enforcement to submit to increased checks of the information provided to request search warrants and then disclose the outcome of the warrant. The new process will help us better understand if the evidence obtained justified using a search warrant.”
A signature from an assistant state’s attorney is critical to the approval of a search warrant in Cook County. But in dozens of wrong raids by the Chicago Police, CBS 2 found that the state’s attorney’s office was not checking to make sure officers did the proper police work and included accurate information before signing off on the warrants.
In many cases, officers listed the wrong addresses on the warrants. And with signatures from assistant state’s attorneys and judges, officers were able to burst into the homes of innocent people on numerous occasions.
In 2021, the state’s attorney’s office told CBS 2 they were close to finalizing a policy. The new policy announced on Friday requires:
·Increased checks of police information provided in search warrants
Disclosure of the outcomes of search warrants, including any items seized or arrests made
A search warrant digital database that will follow search warrant requests through the process
Police officers not in compliance with the policy within 45 days of the approval of the search warrant will not be able to have the state’s attorney’s office review additional search warrants submitted by the officer, until that officer complies with the policy for the previous warrant in question
These changes are the first signs of reforms within the state’s attorney’s office stemming from CBS 2’s reporting on wrong raids.
“The data collected will provide the Office with a more accurate representation of the reliability of the information provided when a search warrant is requested, and the accuracy of the locations chosen,” the State’s Attorney’s Office said.
CBS 2’s coverage started when 9-year-old Peter Mendez tearfully told his story of police wrongly raiding his home and pointing guns at him and his family Nov. 7, 2017.
It was the wrong home, and the case led to a CBS 2 investigation into police repeatedly raiding wrong homes, case after case, cuffing innocent people and traumatizing families — especially children.
The innocent social worker was changing her clothes when a team of officers burst into her home. She was handcuffed naked as officers swarmed her home with guns drawn. You can be seen on police body camera video repeatedly telling officers they were in the wrong place. The CBS 2 investigators found the suspect police were looking for, based on a tip from a confidential informant, was living in a neighboring apartment. He also was wearing a police tracking device while awaiting trial for a recent arrest.
A year after that story, the City of Chicago settled a lawsuit filed by Young, paying her $2.9 million in damages. Since receiving that settlement, Young has continued to push the City Council to pass the search warrant reform ordinance that bears her name.
The state’s attorney’s stronger guidance is just the latest reform in response to CBS 2’s years-long reporting into wrongful police raids.
In August 2019, Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Peter Mendez Act to protect kids as a result of our investigation. State Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) sponsored the legislation requiring police training on how children experience trauma by police actions and training on de-escalation tactics for when children are involved.
Local officials are working to pass a long-delayed proposal to revise Chicago Police Department search warrant policies, known as the. If passed, would require Chicago police officers to follow what would be a new city law governing the execution of search warrants.
In November, the Public Safety Committee voted 10-4 against the. While its proponents still have the option of asking the full City Council to override the Public Safety Committee’s vote, even if the full City Council were to approve the ordinance, it would face a near certain veto from Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who opposes it.