Politicians, journalists, and law enforcement experts are joining Chicago families in demanding answers for how police have not only repeatedly conducted SWAT raids on the wrong homes, but why critical body camera footage from officers has gone missing or was never recorded as evidence.
What are the details?
WBBM-TV has covered numerous recent instances where Chicago police have stormed addresses incorrectly cited on warrants, subsequently holding innocent residents — including children — at gunpoint before discovering the mistake.
Such was the case in February, when a 4-year-old's birthday party was interrupted by at least 17 of Chicago's finest on the hunt for a suspect who had lived in the same residence some five years ago. In that scenario and others, adults allege they were wrongly manhandled and handcuffed by officers, and in at least one instance, police are accused of continuing to search and ransack a home even after learning they were in the wrong place.
Now, lawsuits filed by several families against the department are making their way through the court system, revealing that footage from police body cameras is unavailable to corroborate the events. In some instances, officers had been issued body cameras, but either failed to wear them or allegedly failed to turn them on.
In 2015, Illinois passed a law requiring police wearing body cameras to activate them during encounters with civilians, following allegations of deleted footage purportedly showing the high profile shooting death of Laquan McDonald.
State Sen. Jacqueline Collins told WBBM that Chicago police are not operating in accordance with the law.
"Someone is not being truthful," she said in regard to the missing footage, explaining that the legislation dictates, "before they even enter the residence they need to activate their cameras."
The Chicago Police Department does not require SWAT officers to wear body cameras, and its current policy does not include disciplinary measures for officers who fail to utilize the cameras when required.
WBBM reported that the CPD has refused to reveal how many wrong-address raids the department has conducted.