A Black family in Chicago filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday (August 3) accusing officers of raiding the wrong home, pointing their guns at their two young daughters, and then trying to cover it all up.
The lawsuit claims officers barged into Steven Winters’ home in August 2019 without identifying themselves and without a warrant, Insider reported. The officers, the lawsuit says, immediately started pointing their weapons at Winters, yelling for him to get on the ground.
One officer then went down a hallway to the bedroom of Winters’ two young daughters aged four and nine, and pointed a flashlight at the sleeping at the time of the raid. That officer told another officer the other occupants in the apartment were children but the other officer kept his gun pointed at the girls, the lawsuit claims, adding that the girls cried the duration of the botched raid and wet their beds as a result.
The lawsuit continues that a third officer went to the bedroom of Winters’ father-in-law's bedroom and pointed a gun at him while he laid in the bed.
The Winters family maintains they cooperated with police commands, and one family member even attempted to open the door for the officers before the cops kicked it in. The family say officers also ignored their requests to find out what was going on.
An Alleged Attempt to Cover It Up
The lawsuit goes on to accuse the officers of trying to cover up the botched raid, citing a police report that said an armed suspect from a nearby gas station had run into the Winters’ home, though body camera footage doesn’t show anyone else entering the home.
The girls and other family members have shown signs of PTSD after the botched raid, the lawsuit claims, noting that one of the girls “not only feels nervous and afraid whenever she sees a police officer, but she runs and hides behind relatives.”
Chicago's Rampant Problem with Botched Raids
This isn’t the first family to accuse the city of raiding the wrong home. In February 2019, Anjanette Young said nearly a dozen officers entered her home, handcuffing her naked in her living room for over an hour and repeatedly ignored her as she told them they had the wrong home.
A 2020 report by CBS 2 shows that the city has a problematic trend of having the wrong address for home raids. At two-year investigation by the news outlet found at least 50 instances where police raided the wrong home during a raid. The department changed its search warrant policy in January 2020 as a result of the report that even included updated language aimed to protect children, though the outlet found some gaps.
The Deadly Cost of Raids
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.