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Chicago police superintendent says sergeant should be fired over raid at wrong home

Anjanette Young's apartment was wrongfully raided in February 2019.
Anjanette Young and supporters gather at Daley Plaza in Chicago after marching from Federal Plaza to commemorate the National Day of Protests on Oct. 22, 2021.
Anjanette Young and supporters gather at Daley Plaza in Chicago after marching from Federal Plaza to commemorate the National Day of Protests on Oct. 22, 2021.Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune via Getty Images file

A Chicago police sergeant faces termination over the wrongful raid of an apartment that was recorded on body camera video and showed a woman being handcuffed while she was naked.

Police Superintendent David Brown called for Sgt. Alex Wolinski to be fired for violating department rules in the 2019 raid at Anjanette Young's apartment.

In documents the city released Tuesday, Wolinski is accused of approving a search warrant at Young's apartment without having adhered to the department's "Knock and Announce" rule. He is also accused of failing to intervene in the "disrespectful treatment" of Young and failing to promptly present her with a copy of the search warrant.

The documents allege that Wolinski allowed officers to keep Young in handcuffs while she was naked and after it was determined that officers were at the wrong home.

"Based on the foregoing charges and specifications, the Superintendent recommends that Sergeant Alex Wolinski be discharged from the Chicago Police Department," Brown wrote in the city documents.

Wolinski could not be reached for comment Thursday, and the police department did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago slammed the recommendation on Facebook.

"Yet another example of why Superintendent Brown must go," the group posted. "Carrying the water for the mayor must be exhausting but he is getting as good as Mr Medals at it! What a disgusting display of 'leadership.'"

Brown's statement came a day before the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, or COPA, publicly released its findings on an investigation of the raid.

In a report, the accountability office recommended that Wolinski and another sergeant be suspended for a year with the possibility of "separation from the department."

It also said Officer Alain Aporongao, who obtained the search warrant, was “the most culpable for the harm” Young experienced and recommended a minimum suspension of 180 day with the possibility of “separation from the department.”

Five other officers were recommended for suspensions of one to 60 days, according to the report.

In total, the police accountability office said it found nearly 100 allegations of misconduct against 15 officers involved in the raid.

Police raided Young's first-floor apartment in February 2019 after Aporongao obtained a search warrant for a person at the address who a police source said had an illegal firearm. Aporongao obtained information from an anonymous source who said an acquaintance had brandished an illegal weapon at a home, according to the police accountability office.

The agency's report said the target of the search warrant had previously been arrested and had a home address listed at an apartment building across the street and slightly south of Young's.

Aporongao had information listing the target's address but "disregarded all of this information and instead relied exclusively on J. Doe’s statements," according to the report. Neither Young nor her home were connected to the target or any other criminal activity, the police accountability office said.

Aporongao did not immediately reply to requests for comment Thursday.

The office said police announced their presence but waited only 5 seconds before they used a battering ram to smash in Young's door.

Body camera video showed officers placing Young, who is Black, in handcuffs while she was naked. She sobbed during the encounter and told officers that they were at the wrong home.

When she asked to see a warrant, Young was ignored and was instead questioned about the target of the search warrant, the police accountability office wrote. Young, a social worker, told officers she did not know the target.

During the raid, police covered up Young in a blanket before a female officer eventually escorted her to a bedroom so she could get dressed.

According to the report, officers realized that the target was not at Young's home "approximately a minute" after they entered the apartment.

"After handcuffing and detaining Ms. [Young] for several minutes, it also became apparent to the officers that the Target was not associated with the address," the report said.

But Young remained handcuffed for about 17 minutes.

"COPA concluded that many participating officers violated applicable laws and policies. Notably, Officer Aporongao, the officer who signed the affidavit supporting the warrant application, conducted a deficient investigation regarding the veracity of the information he received from J. Doe," the report said.

"Officer Aporongao and Sgt. Wolinski further failed to present the warrant to Ms. [Young] in a timely manner and failed to take reasonable actions to protect her dignity," it said.

Young has filed a lawsuit against the city and several police officers that is pending.