On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot finally addressed the story everyone’s been talking about: The confidential police informant who sent police on the ill-fated, botched raid of Anjanette Young’s home was arrested this month after he allegedly threw $6,300 worth of heroin from a car owned by CPD’s chief of internal affairs.
The mayor said she was concerned. But not about Chief Yolanda Talley and not that a six-time convicted drug felon whose lousy information led to a $2.9 million settlement was allegedly in the chief’s car with a stash of heroin. Talley’s niece, the reported informant’s girlfriend, was driving the chief’s car at the time of the incident. The niece was not arrested, and Talley was not in the vehicle.
“I’m concerned,” Lightfoot said, “about some of the coverage that I’ve seen that seems to intimate that Chief Talley had some involvement in what happened. I’ve seen zero evidence to substantiate that.”
“I would urge caution in reporting on this,” the mayor continued. “I have no reason to believe that [Talley] had any involvement whatsoever in this matter.”
Lightfoot expressed her concerns about the media less than 30 seconds after giving a lengthy dissertation about her personal knowledge about the “ingenious” ways gangs operate.
Moments before fielding the question about the informant’s recent arrest, Lightfoot was speaking about her proposed ordinance that would allow the city to seize the assets of gang members. The city already has the authority to take vehicles involved in narcotics cases, yet CPD returned Talley’s car to her the same day.
Lightfoot had another concern. And, no, it wasn’t the incredible coincidence that a convicted drug dealer who prompted the most spectacularly awful CPD raid in history was allegedly riding in a CPD chief’s car with $6,300 worth of heroin.
“I’m disturbed by the fact that, clearly, someone within the police department leaked information about [the informant’s] status,” Lightfoot said. “When people don’t take the confidentiality of [confidential informants] to heart, you’re literally putting their lives in danger.”
She said she had personal experience with informants being killed due to leaked information.
CWB first reported that public records showed Kenneth Miles, 34, was both the “John Doe” informant behind the Anjanette Young warrant and the person accused of throwing the heroin from Talley’s Lexus.
We used three sources to document our report:
- the Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s (COPA) public report on the Young search warrant which included specific, identifying information that would allow anyone to identify “John Doe” through public records
- CPD arrest logs, which are public
- Miles’ arrest reports, which are public
Rumors that MIles was “John Doe” began to circulate widely last week. It’s impossible to know where the gossip started. However, if COPA had not exposed John Doe’s identifying information, Miles’ role in the Young case could not have been confirmed through public records and would not have been reportable.
Lightfoot did not express any concerns about COPA during Wednesday’s press conference, which was held shortly after a City Council meeting in which aldermen approved Andrea Kersten as the police oversight agency’s new chief administrator. Kersten previously led COPA’s investigations unit.
Neither Lightfoot’s office nor COPA responded to questions about the Young report on Tuesday, including which COPA executives were responsible for approving it for public release.
Lightfoot said the city’s office of the inspector general is investigating the circumstances surrounding Talley’s car and the narcotics arrest. The inspector general job has been vacant since Joe Ferguson stepped down in October.