On Thursday, the Chicago Police Board voted 5-3 to fire Sgt. Alex Wolinski from the police force. This comes as a result of his involvement in a bungled 2019 raid at the home of Anjanette Young, a Black woman who was erroneously handcuffed while naked when officers from the Chicago Police Department were sent to the wrong address.
The vote was made after a 31-page written ruling established that Sgt. Wolinski had violated multiple rules and failed to properly lead his team. Video footage of the February 2019 raid that went viral showed police officers storming into Young’s apartment on the city’s Near West Side, despite Young’s vehement protests that she lived in the wrong place. The incident has outraged citizens, lawmakers and civil rights activists who view it as a racist travesty causing irreparable harm to the dignity of a Black woman.
As a result of Young’s legal action against the city, the Chicago City Council voted unanimously in December 2021 to award the woman $2.9 million to settle her lawsuit. Ex-police chief David Brown brought administrative charges against Wolinski in November 2021, pushing for the sergeant’s removal from the force.
The board found Sgt. Wolinski culpable of violating eight departmental rules, including inattention to duty, disobedience of orders and disrespect to any person. A statement released by Young’s legal team shows her response to Wolinski’s firing: “This is only a small piece of the justice for which I have been waiting.” She expressed disappointment that the 5-3 vote didn’t reach a unanimous decision, wishing that all eight members of the board had seen the necessity of issuing remedial action against Wolinski.
The botched raid occurred prior to Mayor Lori Lightfoot being elected in May 2019. However, her administration later attempted to block the police video from airing on television and rejected Young’s Freedom of Information request for the footage of the incident. It was only through her subsequent legal proceedings that Young managed to obtain the material evidence.