Foxx bashes ‘dishonest blame games,’ calls for ‘honest conversation’ after night of looting
Foxx’s comments came hours after Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said “a lot of” arrests were made after looting in May and June, but they “weren’t prosecuted to the fullest extent.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Monday rejected criticism that her handling of criminal prosecutions set the stage for the latest round of looting, accusing the mayor and her top cop of engaging in “dishonest blame games.”
The first-term prosecutor’s news conference followed Police Supt. David Brown telling reporters that the looting Sunday night and early Monday was the work of looters “emboldened by no consequences in the criminal system.”
Foxx’s Republican rival was more pointed in his criticism, calling on voters to fire the Democratic incumbent because “our town is like Dodge City.”
Foxx blamed delays in prosecuting cases on court delays related to COVID-19 and criticism of her record on “statistically insignificant” data.
“I think it’s incumbent upon us, for the people that we serve … that we have an honest conversation about what’s happening right now,” Foxx said. “It does not serve us to have dishonest blame games, when all of our hearts are breaking by what we’re seeing.”
Foxx’ spoke in the lobby of the county building at 69 W. Washington, just steps from Block 37, which was boarded up after people looted the store overnight.
Brown earlier had said “a lot of” arrests were made after looting in May and June, but they “weren’t prosecuted to the fullest extent.”
“I think that’s my point and the mayor’s point — we have to have consequences for the arrests that Chicago police officers make through great threat to their own safety,” Brown said. “And these looters, these thieves, these criminals are emboldened by no consequences in the criminal system. They get released, charges get dropped, so they feel emboldened to do it more.”
Lightfoot joined in the criticism, arguing we need a “comprehensive, all-hands-on-deck strategy” that includes Foxx taking a hard line on looters. But the mayor became angry with a reporter who tried to follow up on the criticism, telling him “don’t bait us.”Lightfoot also said she “values our partnership” with the state’s attorney.
Foxx said she hasn’t prosecuted any of those people arrested in connection with the May or June looting because the cases are just getting trial dates now, blaming the delay on the pandemic largely shuttering courts until July 1.
Nearly 5,000 people were arrested countywide after the death of George Floyd at the knee of a Minneapolis police officer sparked days of protests and also looting, Foxx said.
In a statement released after the new conference, Foxx wrote that the Chicago Police Department arrested roughly “300 individuals and none of these cases have been dropped. They are currently awaiting trial. These cases will be brought to trial beginning in August.”
Of 5,000 countywide arrests, 1,000 were for city ordinance violations, such as being out after curfew, she said. Another 1,000 were misdemeanor arrests, and 400 to 500 of those involved people she said were involved in what her office considers peaceful protests. Foxx said her office has “no role in the prosecution of city ordinance violations.”
Foxx announced in June that her office would focus on dismissing charges stemming from arrests at demonstrations and for citywide curfew violations after a week or protests and civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
The political stakes for the freshman prosecutor are high. Of all the officials involved in efforts to stem the looting and violence, she is the only one on the November ballot.
And her handling of cases has drawn media scrutiny. A Chicago Tribune analysis found that Foxx has dropped nearly 30% of charges against felony defendants, considerably higher than her predecessor, Anita Alvarez, who dropped charges in a little over 19% of cases.
Foxx said the numbers that contributed to that jump were “statistically insignificant.” There were eight more murders in her administration that had been dismissed, compared to Alvarez’s time in the office, she said.
The first-term state’s attorney survived a tough primary election battle and will face Republican Pat O’Brien, a former Cook County judge, in November.
O’Brien said Monday that Foxx “has to be fired.”
“How surprising is it that when you encourage crime and don’t have any consequences for it, that it continues to happen,” O’Brien said. “If she had any experience and judgment at this moment, she would have a team of states attorneys with the police department, looking at tape, to identify the people that loot. She would have that team of state attorneys, when they identified those people, issue arrest warrants and search warrants.”
“She can’t get a second term. Our town is like Dodge City, on a second term we’ll become like Tombstone. This can’t go on.”