A Chicago mother says she has “every right right to see videos” from the night police stormed her South Side home earlier this year, ordering her and her children out at gunpoint.
However, the city has refused multiple requests to turn over critical video evidence in what the mother is calling yet another case of officers raiding the wrong home.
“Those are my legal rights,” Domonique Wilson told CBS Chicago.
On March 15, Wilson said her family was forced out of their home with their hands in the air. They re-enacted the harrowing scene for the local outlet last week, their mother recalling the trauma officers caused to her children that day.
Wilson’s 8-year-old-son, Royal Smart, said “my legs were shaking” through the entire ordeal. According to a lawsuit brought by the family, cops would later handcuff the tot and leave him standing in the freezing rain for 40 minutes.
“They made me stand up straight and [put] my hands just behind my back. And they had them tight,” the boy explained. “I was worried about my sister most, because she’s only 6 years old.’
Wilson is now putting pressure on the city and Chicago Police Department to release the footage captured on officers’ body worn cameras. She said she believes the video will prove misconduct by the city’s police.
“It’s going to show them placing my 8-year-old son in handcuffs,” said Wilson, who accused police of trying to hide the fact that officers had held she and her family at gunpoint. It’ll show “how scared he was — traumatized.”
The family’s lawsuit was reportedly the fifth involving children of color impacted by police wrongfully raiding a home.
The raid unfolded just after 6 a.m. when police arrived to execute a search warrant based on information that an assault rifle belonging to one of Wilson’s adult sons was inside the home, station CBS Chicago reported earlier this year. A lawyer for the family said Royal was eventually uncuffed, but that other members of the family who were present, including Wilson’s visiting adult sons and their girlfriends, were detained for up to two hours as officers ransacked the home. At one point, police even used an explosive to blow a hole in the ceiling.
No weapon was ever recovered.
CBS Chicago has been looking into CPD’s botched raids for a year now, but its investigation has turned up few answers after the department blocked access to public records and denied its Freedom of Information requests. Last November, the station asked police Superintendent Eddie Johnson if the agency was tracking wrongful raids and how many times officers got it wrong.
The top cop said the department “looks at it.” However, that turned out not to be the case.
According to the outlet, “Johnson and his staff do not have that information. After nearly a year of repeatedly asking for numbers, Chicago Police have admitted to CBS 2 they don’t even keep track of all the times police raid the wrong homes.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has since called for CPD to collaborate with the city’s chief risk officer to review how police obtain and execute search warrants, an effort she hopes will help prevent yet another wrong raid on an unsuspecting family.