Chicago's Top Attorney Resigns Following Scandal Over Botched Police Raid
The lead attorney for the city of Chicago resigned Sunday amid continuing fallout from a botched and mistaken police raid nearly a year ago at the home of a Black woman.
Attorney Mark Flessner said in a concise email to staff that he had resigned as Corporation Counsel for the city of Chicago. He said simply that he would work on a transition plan in the next few days.
Flessner told The Chicago Tribune that his resignation was prompted by the police raid on Anjanette Young, a local social worker, last year. After announcing his resignation, he told the newspaper that he is being accused of trying to hide police body camera video of the raid, which he denies.
It is unclear whether he was asked to resign.
City Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement Sunday that she accepted Flessner's resignation effective immediately. The statements from Flessner and Lightfoot were shared by Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt on Twitter.
Top Chicago lawyer Mark Flessner’s resignation letter, sent to the Law Department pic.twitter.com/NPB5w7ZHVe— Gregory Pratt (@royalpratt) December 20, 2020
Police body camera video of the night of raid last February show officers breaking down Young's door. They handcuffed the naked, crying woman, who was home alone at the time and preparing to go to bed. She repeatedly screams at the officers, telling them they have the wrong home. The officers ignore her pleas while they search her home.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has accepted Flessner’s resignation “effective immediately.” pic.twitter.com/KdhIQDAkTs— Gregory Pratt (@royalpratt) December 20, 2020
Video of the raid on Young's home, which turned out to be the wrong address, has placed the city's police and Chicago's leadership in hot water. Civil rights groups and lawmakers have criticized the actions of the police.
The video publicized by WBBM-TV was released earlier this month, but only after a legal battle between the city, Young, and the Chicago station. Attorneys for WBBM and lawyers for Young fought for the video's release.
In the aftermath of the raid on Young's home, the city's handling of the incident has only brought further public scrutiny.
The incident occurred before Lightfoot became mayor. When the video was first broadcast by WBBM, she claimed that it was the first time she had seen or heard of it. She later recanted that statement and admitted she did know about the incident.
Young filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the video released, but the city refused. She then filed a lawsuit to obtain it. The city's lawyers went to federal court in an effort to prevent WBBM from airing a report on the video, and sought to sanction Young and her attorney after the video leaked, saying they had violated a confidentiality agreement.
The city on Dec. 18 dropped the motion seeking sanctions against Young and her attorney. Flessner himself signed that filing, saying to the court that it came at Lightfoot's urging.
Lightfoot said in a statement, "I want to be explicit that at no time did the City ever seek sanctions against Ms. Young and, to remove any doubt, we specifically affirm that no such sanctions were ever sought against her. Moreover, at my direction, the Corporation Counsel will formally move to withdraw sanctions" against Young's attorney.
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