In a year when gun violence has surged to heights not seen in more than two decades, Kim Foxx promised Monday to continue working to improve the criminal justice system as she was sworn in for her second term as Cook County state’s attorney.
Foxx was sworn in by U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman in a nearly-empty room — a stark contrast to the ceremony four years ago when Foxx was first elected as the county’s top prosecutor.
After Foxx was sworn in during the live-streamed event, she and Coleman, exchanged elbow bumps while wearing face masks.
Foxx, during her remarks, acknowledged the coronavirus pandemic and how its economic fallout has affected Black and Brown communities, but she also said the challenges Chicago currently faces, including gun violence, are “eerily reminiscent” of 2016.
She also noted that the city, which surpassed 700 homicides last month, is on pace to be even more deadly than 2016 — the city’s most violent year in recent history.
Foxx, who defeated Republican challenger Pat O’Brien and Libertarian candidate Brian Denney in spite of criticism over her office’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case, also took a moment Monday to reflect on her successes.
Foxx pointed to how her office overturned 95 wrongful convictions this year, its works on bail reform and at the Gun Crimes Strategies Unit and its creation of a felony case-level data portal that’s accessible to the public.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve done in the last four years,” Foxx said.
Foxx said she hopes to build off the foundation she created by working with law enforcement officials to reduce crime and partnering with public health and mental health experts to create a proactive plan to help communities in need.
“I often tell people the criminal justice system is the last response for systems that have failed along the way, but just because we’re at the end of the line doesn’t mean that we have to stay there, it means that we have to move forward and work together,” Foxx said.
Foxx gave few details about her agenda for her next term, saying she plans to meet with community leaders to devise a plan before laying it out early next year. She said she’ll be announcing new staff changes in the coming days “to help us facilitate moving toward our goal.”
“We’ll work closely with our legislators and everyone who has committed to making sure Cook County is equitable and diverse no matter your zip code or your income,” she said. “We’ll work to continue to fix a broken criminal justice system, we will continue to build on the relationships with our community members who have been directly impacted whether as victims of violent crime, those who are returning from our criminal justice system and those in our neighborhoods who have been impacted by devastation...”