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Kim Foxx sees no ‘haters’ despite ‘noise’ surrounding Jussie Smollett case

Kim Foxx appears as a guest on monthly podcast "The Girl Talk" with Erika Wozniak (left) and Jen Sabella (right). | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said Tuesday she welcomes criticism of her work as top prosecutor but decried the “noise” surrounding her office’s dismissal of charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.

“I am here for criticism. I ran for office — not to evade conversation — I ran to take it on,” Foxx said Tuesday as a guest on the monthly podcast “The Girl Talk,” held at The Hideout bar in West Town.When asked what she would say to her harshest critics, Foxx seemed unfazed: “I don’t believe that I have haters. I have motivators.”

She also said her comments have been misconstrued to appear as if she has blamed racism for criticism of her job.

“I have never accused someone of doing something to me because of my race,” Foxx said. “I have said we should have a conversation, an honest conversation, about do we see distinctions and differences in how we treat people based on the same facts. It’s sensational to say, ‘She’s race-baiting.’ I’m not.”

Some of her supporters have pointed to her status as Cook County’s first black woman state’s attorney as the biggest reason for the blistering criticism, particularly from the police union, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7. At a news conference Foxx attended at Rainbow Push earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (1st) said, “the FOP is the sworn enemy of black people,” and community activist Ja’Mal Green called the FOP the “Blue Klux Klan.”

Foxx also said she wouldn’t “play into that narrative” that there is a growing rift between the state’s attorney’s office and the Chicago Police Department. She said she continues to have a good relationship with CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson and his staff.

“I have not seen, despite all of the noise, any change in the level of professionalism of the men and women from CPD,” Foxx said.

“Now the union is different,” Foxx continued, referencing the FOP and its president, Kevin Graham, who held a news conference earlier this month with a few dozen suburban police chiefs to call for Foxx’s resignation. Foxx said she has met with Graham in the past to forge a working relationship.

“It was important to me to make sure that we had professional engagement with one another,” Foxx said, “and I continue to welcome that from him.”