The Chicago Police Department has a long and troubled history when it comes to policing the Black community. In 2019 alone, cases against dozens of Black men had to be dropped because it was proven multiple officers fabricated evidence in drug arrests. Most recently, the controversy surrounding actor Jussie Smollett ended in prosecutors dropping all 16 charges against the actor for an alleged fake hate crime. Now comes news that the department terrorized a child’s birthday party in a glaring error of bad police work.
It was on Sunday, February 10, 2019, that a group of adults and children were gathered for the birthday party of Terrance Jackson who had just turned four. Before the cake could even be taken out of the box, 17 Chicago Police officers in plainclothes burst into the residence with guns drawn. The police were executing an arrest warrant for a suspect who was allegedly dealing ecstasy. The children had guns pointed at them and according to a federal lawsuit shouted “Get your (expletive) hands up!” and “We are doing an (expletive) raid.”
During the raid, Terrance’s presents were ripped open, the rooms ransacked and adults were handcuffed, as small children cried. Even though everyone in the home cooperated, doors were taken off of hinges and some of the officers poured vodka over clothing and hydrogen peroxide over Terrance’s gifts laughing and using profanity during the whole ordeal. But there was a problem with this police raid. The person they were looking for had not lived at the residence for more than 5 years and the family had no connection to the suspect. After the cops barbaric raid that resulted in no arrests, drugs, or charges, they placed a copy of the search warrant on the dining room table and made no other comments to the family.
To add insult to injury, one of the officers took the cake and smashed the candle, shaped in the number “4” into the cake. According to Stephanie Bures, Terrance’s mother, her daughter, and children thought they were going to be shot. She stated to the Chicago Tribune, “To hear her say that, to worry about her or her brother getting shot by someone that is supposed to protect and serve them, it’s terrifying.”
This week, the family filed a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department and the officers involved, none of which had body cameras when the raid was initiated. The plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial and have asked for legal fees and unspecified punitive damages.
Lawyers for the city have stated they have not received a copy of the lawsuit and have no comments at this time. At the time of this article, no apology has been issued by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel over the mistaken raid.