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Rep. Gutierrez dumps Anita Alvarez over Laquan McDonald case

WASHINGTON — Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., withdrew his support for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in the March Democratic primary on Tuesday, citing an “inexcusable” delay in bringing charges against a Chicago police officer in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.

“I will not be voting for you next March,” Gutierrez said in a letter to Alvarez obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Alvarez, who is facing two rivals in the primary, is seeing a growing number of calls for her resignation over the handling of the McDonald case. A big Hispanic turnout in March is crucial to her political survival and Gutierrez is one of the most influential Hispanic Democrats in the state.

Gutierrez wrote in his letter to Alvarez that he promised his backing last summer over a lunch.

“After much personal anguish and soul searching, I have decided that I can no longer keep that pledge. This decision did not come easily, as I hold you personally in the highest regard. During your tenure as state’s attorney I have been proud to single you out as a symbol of what women, particularly Latinas, can accomplish in a world where the odds are stacked against them,” Gutierrez wrote.

“Laquan McDonald deserved justice: not last week, but thirteen months ago. You failed in this regard. The delay was inexcusable. I am not calling for your resignation. An election will be held soon enough. I will not be voting for you next March,” he said.

Below, the full letter:

Ms. Anita Alvarez

Cook County State’s Attorney

Dear Anita,

When we met last summer for lunch I told you that you could count on my support for another term as Cook County’s States Attorney. I was looking forward to fighting alongside you as I had when you first ran.

After much personal anguish and soul searching, I have decided that I can no longer keep that pledge. This decision did not come easily, as I hold you personally in the highest regard. During your tenure as State’s Attorney I have been proud to single you out as a symbol of what women, particularly Latinas, can accomplish in a world where the odds are stacked against them.

Laquan McDonald deserved justice: not last week, but thirteen months ago. You failed in this regard. The delay was inexcusable.

I am not calling for your resignation. An election will be held soon enough. I will not be voting for you next March.

Sincerely,

Luis V. Gutierrez

Member of Congress