Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. | Ashlee Rezin / Sun-Times

Venom directed at Kim Foxx is about taking down an African American reformer

SHARE Venom directed at Kim Foxx is about taking down an African American reformer
SHARE Venom directed at Kim Foxx is about taking down an African American reformer

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is not going to resign. She’s going to run.

Last month, Foxx plunged into a white-hot controversy when her office dropped all charges against the actor Jussie Smollett, accused of staging a fake assault and claiming he was the victim of a hate crime.


Smollett agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond and perform a community service assignment, but he was not required to admit guilt.

The decision triggered shock and outrage. The Fraternal Order of Police and the North Suburban Association of Chiefs of Police held a press conference on April 4 to bestow a vote of “no-confidence” on Foxx and demand her resignation.

“I was elected by the people of Cook County to pursue community safety, prevent harm and uphold the values of fairness and equal justice,” Foxx responded in a written statement. “I’m proud of my record in doing that, and I plan to do so through the end of my term and, if the people so will it, into the future.”

In other words, she is running for reelection in 2020.

There are questions. On Friday, Foxx announced she has asked the Cook County inspector general to review her office’s handling of the Smollett case.

The venom leveled at Foxx is not about Jussie Smollett. It’s about taking down the first African American woman to serve as the county’s top prosecutor, and about her efforts to bring justice and equity to communities of color.

Her law enforcement critics, mostly white men, say Foxx is soft on criminals and an enemy of the police.

FOP President Kevin Graham appeared on the conservative Fox News network to declare that Smollett is just the “tip of the iceberg.”

“We have had problems getting felony charges approved for battery to police officers,” Graham said.

“We’re saying: ‘this is enough.’ ”

The grandstanders yearn to return to the old ways.

In 2016, voters chose Foxx over two-term incumbent Anita Alvarez.

The tip of Alvarez’s iceberg: The police murder of 17-year old Laquan McDonald. Alvarez was seen as an apologist for the police, instead of an advocate for the community.

Foxx’s critics scream about Smollett, but they were silent when Laquan was shot down in the street like a dog. They said nothing while Alvarez waited more than a year before finally charging Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke with the crime.

Foxx promised to reform the criminal justice system. She has delivered equitable, humane policies.

Foxx is prioritizing resources away from low-level offenses to instead focus on violent crime.  She has pushed to have those arrested on minor crimes to be released without a cash bail, so they can return to productive lives as they await trial. She has worked to overturn dozens of convictions of the wrongfully accused.

She has hired more women and people of color, and she has advocated for sexual harassment awareness and training.

Foxx’s critics are quietly searching for an opponent.

Perhaps Alvarez, a vocal critic of Foxx in the media, is itching for a rematch?

Jerry Joyce’s recent failed mayoral campaign had a law-and-order ring. That could set the stage for a Foxx challenge. Joyce would play well among police officers and others in his Southwest Side 19th ward, and beyond.

Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson may take Foxx on.

And how about Bob Fioretti, the former 2nd Ward alderman and perennial candidate? He’s been busy on Facebook, with sharp attacks and calls for Foxx to “step down.”

Instead, she’s running.

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