Politicians are especially effective at finger-pointing.
So goes the latest ugly war of words between Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
Last week, Lightfoot excoriated Foxx for not pursuing criminal charges in a deadly gang-related shootout on the city’s West Side.
On the morning of Oct. 1, gang members pulled up outside a home in the Austin neighborhood and started shooting. People inside the home fired back, according to the police officials and video recorded at the scene. One person was killed and two injured.
Foxx’s office subsequently issued a statement: “After an extensive review of the available information presented to us, we determined that the evidence was insufficient to meet our burden of proof to approve felony charges.” Five individuals who had been arrested in connection with the firefight were released. Witnesses at the scene would not cooperate with investigators, prosecutors said.
“They shoot up a residence in broad daylight, and there’s no consequences,” NBC 5 quoted her as saying. “We have to understand how it’s possible, when this kind of shootout is captured on film, that there are no charges of any person.”
Foxx called a press conference on Tuesday to push back. “Our job is not only an arrest but also to get a conviction,” she declared. “Discussing the facts of this case in the press without the benefit of all of the evidence does nothing but disservice.”
Lightfoot should know better, Foxx added. “I was quite honestly mortified by what happened yesterday, particularly because the mayor, as a former prosecutor, knows that what she did yesterday was inappropriate,” she said.
This is not their first dust-up. For months, Lightfoot, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown and Foxx have been blame-gaming over the shootings and murders that are terrorizing our neighborhoods.
The finger-pointing goes on. The killing continues.
When politicians land on the hot seat, they succumb to an irresistible urge — to blame someone else.
If they can’t even agree on the facts, how can they solve the crimes?
Foxx and Lightfoot privately met on Thursday. The next day, Foxx issued an “I-told-you-so.”
Noting that law enforcement officials had provided Lightfoot “with all of the evidence that has thus far been gathered in the Austin shooting,” Foxx’s office said in a statement. “As from the very beginning, (the Chicago Police Department) continued to agree that there is insufficient evidence for charges at this time and informed the mayor as such.”
Foxx “hopes to continue to have conversations with the mayor and Supt. Brown regarding concerns about Area 5 and violence in Chicago,” the statement added. “Throughout the conversation, State’s Attorney Foxx and Mayor Lightfoot renewed their commitment to work collaboratively to address violence in the community.”
Talk has become even cheaper than the lives we continue to lose.
It is clear that no one, not the powerful people in charge, not the city’s raft of crime and public policy experts, not the endless stream of armchair critics, have the answers.
It is also clear that the victims of Chicago’s horrendous crime wave are overwhelmingly people of color.
Lightfoot and Foxx are women of color. No one should be more motivated to stop the carnage. Our communities have become shooting galleries. Children and young people are being shot and killed every day, in senseless, rampant violence.
Chicago is desperate for solutions.
Work together. Devise a viable plan to stop the violence.
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