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Kim Foxx backers say state’s attorney is on the right track

“We want to support what works,” said the Rev. Lawrence Marshall, a coalition member.

The Rev. Lawrence Marshall talks to reporters outside Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office at 69 W. Washington St. on Tuesday, July 30, 2019.
The Rev. Lawrence Marshall talks to reporters outside Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office on Tuesday.
Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times

Supporters of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said she’s doing a great job and have the numbers to prove it as politicians line up to unseat her in 2020 and the union representing Chicago police officers says it doesn’t trust her.

Standing outside her offices at 69 W. Washington St. — the site of a Fraternal Order of Police anti-Foxx rally in April — a coalition of Foxx backers released a report citing FBI statistics showing an 8% drop in violent crime for the first six months of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017.

The group noted those numbers are down even as prosecutors are now less likely in a Foxx administration to seek jail or prison time for offenders. Sentences in Cook County that include time behind bars dropped 19% from 2017 to 2018, the report states.

Among other things, prosecutors are now more likely to seek alternatives to a felony conviction, according to the report

“Mass incarceration does not make our communities safer,” the Rev. David Thornton, a leader with the People’s Lobby, told reporters Tuesday. “In fact, the root causes of many crimes, including poverty and the lack of mental health services or treatment for substance use disorder, go unaddressed or are made worse through prison sentences.”

Thornton said decreasing sentences that include time behind bars is a “significant step in addressing the racism of the criminal justice system in Cook County.”

In a statement, Foxx said: “I am extremely proud that the smart strategies we have implemented have led to decreases in both violent crime and incarceration rates in communities disproportionately impacted by inequities in our criminal justice system. Through our unprecedented transparency, we will continue to share and be driven by our data as we work for a safer and more just Cook County.”

Foxx has come under fire for her handling of the case against actor Jussie Smollett. A Cook County judge has since decided that a special prosecutor should review the matter. And FOP leaders sent a letter to Foxx earlier this month, citing a “deep mistrust” of her office in seeking a special prosecutor in any case where a cop is the victim of a crime or has been accused of misconduct.

Asked about the report from Foxx’s backers, FOP Vice President Martin Preib said: “There were some 50 people shot over the weekend. What does that tell you?”

A number of people are considering runs to unseat Foxx, including former Cook County Board Commissioner Richard Boykin, who said Foxx had “failed in terms of being an advocate of victims of gun violence.”