Chicago PD Refuses to Release Wrongful Raid Footage

The Chicago Police Department has denied a request to turn over body cam footage to a family whose home was raided in March.

Alberta Domonique Wilson told CBS2 she is demanding the release of the video of what happened to her family during a wrongful raid of her home in March. On March 15, at around 6 a.m., Wilson and her family, who are Black, woke up to approximately 20 SWAT officers, six plainclothes officers, and five uniformed officers surrounding her home on the 8900 block of South Laflin Street, according to a lawsuit filed in May.

During the wrongful raid, Wilson and her young sons — 6-year-old Royalty, 8-year-old Royal, and 9-year-old Roy — were told to “come out with your hands up for your own safety.” Wilson’s two-year-old granddaughter, her two adult sons, and their girlfriends were also home when the raid occurred, according to the lawsuit.

Wilson claims in the lawsuit that everyone present in the home complied with the officers demands and exited with their hands up in the air. In the suit, it states that “officers’ guns were loaded, and their fingers were on the triggers. The children were afraid that they and their families were going to be shot.”

Police also reportedly handcuffed 8-year-old Royal in front of his siblings “for approximately 35-40 minutes while he stood in the street shaking from fear and cold and drenched in the freezing rain.” The handcuffs on the boy were reportedly placed so tightly on his wrists that he “couldn’t take the pain and discomfort anymore,” and began to cry, according to the suit. The handcuffs reportedly left a bruise on his wrist.

“He’s hurting, he’s only 8, he can’t take it anymore. It’s wrong. [The children] have already seen things they’re not supposed to see,” Royal’s older brother Maurice told the officers, according to the lawsuit.

Wilson’s family, including the children, stood in the street in the freezing cold for hours, the lawsuit states. Although the family complied with the officers' demands, police screamed and cursed at the family.

“Neither the children nor any of the adults refused to follow instructions, resisted arrest, attempted to flee, or posed any threat whatsoever to the officers at any time,” the lawsuit states.

The raid deeply affected Wilson’s young sons, who have suffered from emotional distress as a result of the raid.

“Roy, Royal, and Royalty now suffer serious, emotional, and psychological distress and injury, including symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as a direct result of their exposure to defendant officers’ use of excessive force,” the suit reads. “Their deep distress and related symptoms constitute scars on their young psyches that may never fully heal.”

In a previous statement to NBC Chicago, police said the officers on scene did not know Royal’s age and the officers were searching for an assault rifle “that could penetrate body armor.”

“The target of the search warrant was on scene, and while there was no weapon located during the search, the location searched was the same as described on the search warrant,” the statement said.

Wilson told CBS2 that she believes it is her legal right to view the footage from the night of the raid and believes the footage will show police misconduct. Police confirmed to the news station that they have 16 hours of video from the raid but said it was too much to review and release. Last week, a judge ordered the department to turn over the body camera footage, CBS 2 reported.

A similar incident occurred to another family in Chicago when a SWAT officer shot a 12-year-old boy in the knee while he was sitting in bed during a police raid. A civil lawsuit filed in August in the Cook County Circuit Court and obtained by NBC News states that Amir Worship, 12, was shot in the knee by an officer on May 26 after his family’s home was raided by two dozen SWAT officers who were searching for his mother’s boyfriend, Mitchell Thurman.

In the suit, Amir’s mother, Crystal Worship, states that an officer went into the 12-year-old boy’s bedroom and ordered him to put his shoes on while another officer pointed a rifle at the boy. The complaint states that Worship heard Amir scream after the officer shot the kneecap of his right leg. The officers gun was allegedly not in the “safety lock position,” according to the lawsuit obtained by NBC News.

Following the shooting, Amir was taken to the hospital for surgery and received 25 stitches. The family stated in the lawsuit that the 12-year-old was hospitalized for four days before he was moved to Texas for physical therapy.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.