South Suburban black mayors caucus express support for Kim Foxx

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Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in February. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The South Suburban Black Caucus of Mayors and several African American south suburban police chiefs say their views weren’t represented in an April 4 press conference at which about 40 white police officials from the Chicago-area expressed a “unanimous” vote of no confidence in Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

That’s why the black mayors caucus met with Foxx Saturday morning to assess the situation for themselves and “address recent media reports concerning the duties of her office,” according to Robbins Mayor Tyrone Ward.

Ward said over 80% of the 17 mayors in the caucus attended Saturday’s meeting at Markham City Hall, and Foxx “answered every question to the satisfaction of the mayors and African American police chiefs that were present.”

“The South Suburban Black Caucus of Mayors assured States Attorney Foxx that she has our complete confidence,” Ward said.

“All these towns support Kim Foxx,” said Sean Howard, a spokesman for several southern suburbs. “Her state’s attorneys are in daily communication with our police chiefs, and there’s a good working relationship.”

Howard said the south suburban African American leaders weren’t consulted in the lead up to the April 4 press conference at the Fraternal Order of Police’s Chicago headquarters, where dozens of police chiefs and officials from the city and suburbs demanded Foxx’s resignation.

Before that press conference, the South Suburban Association of Chiefs of Police held a no-confidence vote regarding Foxx on March 28, but according to Howard, the agenda for the March meeting was not released in advance. As a result, a significant portion of the association was not present at the vote and didn’t know that was going to happen, including several African American chiefs, Howard said.

Jack Touhy, the chief of police at St. Xavier University and president of the southern association of chiefs, said that multiple African American chiefs were in attendance at the unanimous vote, but did not elaborate on whether or not an agenda was sent out beforehand.

“Certainly within any organization you can have differing opinions and Police Chiefs are no different,” Touhy said.

According to Howard, many of these chiefs had no idea last week’s press conference at FOP Lodge 7 was happening at all, and the demands that were made there stand in stark contrast to the wishes of the south suburban mayors and police chiefs that Howard represents.

Touhy denied any secrecy around the press conference, saying that “several email blasts were sent to [his] membership announcing the intent, time and location of the press conference” and that “all police chiefs were welcome to attend.”

Howard called the press conference a “political stunt” and said the police chiefs “did not reflect the diversity of our county.”

“It was done very strategically,” Howard said. “It was a sly move, a sleazy move.”

Martin Preib, the second vice president of the FOP’s Lodge 7, did not directly address Howard’s allegations, but said “[he thinks] any police chief, regardless of their race, should explain to their officers and the public they serve why they support Kimberly Foxx.”

Immediately after her April 6 meeting with the caucus of black mayors and chiefs of police, Foxx attended a press conference at Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition in Kenwood. She said she was “undaunted” by the criticism against her and the decision to dismiss charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollet, who had previously been indicted on 16 counts of allegedly faking a hate crime against himself.


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