Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was at odds with top prosecutor Kim Foxx on Monday after she suggested the surge of lootings on a lack of serious charges earlier this summer that may have encouraged more of the same.
All eyes were on Chicago Sunday evening as scores of residents were seen breaking into stores and vandalizing property in a show a widespread looting along Magnificent Mile.
A clash between the Chicago Police Department and civilians upset over false claims of an officer-involved shooting of a minor resulted in an embattled night of unrest.
More than 100 people were arrested and 13 police officers were injured.
In a press conference, Mayor Lightfoot vehemently condemned the looting and tersely asked the Cook County State Attorney’s Office to effectively step up to the plate.
The looting in Chicago on Sunday night put Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx (left) and Mayor Lori Lightfoot (right) at odds on Monday
‘I call upon our state’s attorney and our courts to make sure these individuals are arrested and held accountable,’ said Lightfoot.
‘Put your best people on this. We have made the case – these people need to be held accountable. ‘We can’t continue to allow this to happen,’ she said.
‘We woke up in shock this morning. These individuals engaged in brazen destruction.
‘This had nothing to do with legitimate protected First Amendment speech. Regardless what occurred in our downtown was abject criminal behavior, pure and simple.’
Lightfoot suggested that Foxx’s office apparently shirked its responsibility to bring Chicagoans engaging in public defacement and looting to justice.
The CBD Kratom is damaged after looting broke out in the Loop and surrounding neighborhoods, in Chicago, Monday
A number of stores were looted in Chicago on Sunday night after a false social media post claimed a minor was shot dead by police
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown shared the sentiment, adding that a lack of serious charges against defendants during instances of looting in May and June may have emboldened some.
According to Brown, the reportedly relaxed charges led to defendants being released quickly and sending them back onto the streets.
‘These criminals were emboldened by no consequences in the criminal system,’ he said.
But Foxx defended herself against a barrage of claims that she hasn’t done enough to keep looters off of the streets.
In a separate, dueling press conference on Monday, Foxx insisted that the idea her office is not seriously pursuing defendants is untrue.
‘The notion that people believe they are somehow empowered because people weren’t prosecuted for looting back in the wake of the unrest beginning is simply not true,’ said Foxx.
She instead passed some of the blame onto the Chicago Police Department, which she said only considered 325 looting arrests felonies.
She added that around 300 defendants have been charged with felonies dating back to early June, and that city courts only recently reopened in July so cases are still pending.
Foxx noted that while prosecutors can recommend bail, the final decision falls on judges to set the price.
‘Those cases are coming to court now. we are now in the August hearing and status dates now,’ she said. ABC 7 reports.
So far, none of those hundreds of cases have been tied and many were granted pre-trial release amid COVID-19 public health protocols.
‘And what we have said to CPD and our other partners is, ‘bring us cases where people are committing those acts and we will pursue them,’ said Foxx, Fox 32 reports.
A spokesperson for Foxx said the assistant state’s attorneys were collaborating with the Chicago Police Department to review video that could identify looters at the scene.
Kim Foxx (pictured):’The notion that people believe they are somehow empowered because people weren’t prosecuted for looting back in the wake of the unrest beginning is simply not true’
On Monday, Lightfoot warned looters who ransacked the city that they are already being hunted by police who are reviewing HD security camera footage from the chaos which saw more than 100 arrests, attacks on 13 police officers and widespread unrest.
The chaos began on Sunday afternoon when police responded to Englewood where there had been complaints of a man with a gun. The suspect has not been named but was described by police on Monday as a 20-year-old man with a criminal history that includes charges of burglary, child endangerment and assault and battery.
When officers arrived at the scene, he began running and opened fire on them as they pursued him. The cops returned fire, wounding him, and arrested him. He was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive.
A different story spread among residents of the neighborhood who were told that the police officers had inadvertently shot a child. Crowds gathered in protest, creating a tense stand-off that lasted several hours and was described by Deputy Police Chief Yolanda Talley as ‘very hostile’.
Clothing and other items litter the ground at Nordstrom after a night of unrest & looting in downtown Chicago following the shooting of an Englewood man
In response to that incident, people on social media organized for a caravan of cars to descend on the city’s downtown shopping district to loot. Police found out about the posts and within 15 minutes, were downtown but the violence had begun.
Cars plowed through storefronts to give the crowds easy access and despite there being 400 officers dispatched to the area, the cops struggled to keep up with the crowds.
One officer was attacked with a bottle, another had his nose broken and a group of different officers were shot at by drive-by assailants while trying to arrest other looters.
Police were still arresting people at a Best Buy, which was among the stores that had been ransacked on Monday morning.
Some of the city’s bridges were raised and tunnels were closed while police tried to regain control of the situation.
REVEALED: Top Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx’s office has dismissed more than 25,000 felony cases – including murders, shootings, sexual assaults and Jussie Smollett’s ‘hoax’ attack
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has dismissed more than 25,000 felony cases – including many involving charges of murder and other serious crimes – in her first three years on the job, a new report shows.
Foxx gained notoriety last year when she dropped felony charges against Jussie Smollett, the Empire actor accused of staging a racist, homophobic attack on himself in January 2019.
The Chicago Tribune on Monday published an analysis of Foxx’s overall record on dropping charges, revealing that she has done so at a rate that’s 35 percent higher than her predecessor.
In the first three years after Foxx took over as Cook County’s top prosecutor in 2016, her office dismissed all charges against 29.9 percent of felony defendants, the Tribune found.
By comparison, Foxx’s predecessor Anita Alvarez dropped charges against just 19.4 percent of felony defendants over her last three years in office.
A total of 25,183 defendants had their felony charges dismissed under Foxx up until November 2019, compared with 18,694 under Alvarez during a similar period, the Tribune said.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has dismissed more than 25,000 felony cases – including many involving charges of murder and other serious crimes – in her first three years on the job, an analysis by the Chicago Tribune has found
Foxx took over as state’s attorney in 2016 with a promise to bring criminal justice reform and to reduce the population of Cook County Jail.
The Democrat is now up for re-election in November after beating three challengers in a tight race that was one of the most expensive of its kind.
Foxx defended her case dismissal record in an interview with the Tribune prior to the publication of its analysis.
A Tribune analysis found that Foxx has dismissed felony cases at a 35 percent higher rate than her predecessor, Anita Alvarez (pictured in 2015)
The newspaper reported that Foxx did not dispute the findings, but said that the high rate of dismissal gave an ‘incomplete picture of her commitment to keeping the public safe’.
‘It is always eye-opening to be able to look at our own data and compare it to my predecessor’s past,’ Foxx said. ‘I can’t reconcile what her decision-making was, and how they chose to (dismiss) cases in the past.
‘But I will say that this administration has been clear that our focus would be on violent crime and making sure that our resources and attention would go to addressing violent crime.’
Foxx asserted that her office has focused on dropping cases against low-level, nonviolent offenders – though the Tribune’s analysis paints a different picture.
It found that Foxx has consistently dismissed cases involving murder, shootings, sex crimes and serious drug offenses at a significantly higher rate than Alvarez did.
Below is a breakdown of dismissal rates for different felony crimes under Foxx and Alvarez:
- Homicide cases: Foxx – 8.1 percent, Alvarez – 5.3 percent
- Sex crimes: Foxx – 9.5 percent, Alvarez – 6.5 percent
- Aggravated battery: Foxx – 7 percent, Alvarez – 5.9 percent
- Narcotics: Foxx – 53.8 percent, Alvarez – 34.5 percent
Foxx gained notoriety when she dropped felony charges against Jussie Smollett (pictured), the Empire actor accused of staging a racist, homophobic attack on himself in January 2019
Foxx’s handling of the Smollett case has been a key issue in her campaign for re-election this fall. She is pictured at a rally after winning the Democratic nomination in March
Foxx said she encourages assistant state’s attorneys in her office to openly discuss dismissing felony charges with cases that have legal problems.
She said fostering that kind of environment is important to her given Chicago’s record of wrongful convictions and police misconduct.
‘Recognizing the history that we’ve had around wrongful convictions, recognizing our ethical obligations as prosecutors … requires us to reinforce that people can, if they believe a case is flawed, bring it to our attention, and we will dismiss it if it’s appropriate,’ she said.
Foxx also said she is more selective about prosecuting the strongest, most winnable cases – though the Tribune’s analysis showed that her overall conviction rate (66 percent) is lower than Alvarez’s (75 percent).
Foxx drew intense criticism last year after she recused herself from the Smollett investigation and her office dismissed all 16 felony charges against the actor.
Though Foxx had removed herself from the investigation prior to the charges being dropped, questions remained about whether she acted improperly by speaking to a Smollett relative and aide to former first lady Michelle Obama before the dismissal.
Last summer a Cook County judge appointed a special prosecutor, former US Attorney Dan Webb, to investigate whether any misconduct occurred in Foxx’s office’s handling of the case.
Foxx drew intense criticism last year after she recused herself from the Smollett investigation and her office dismissed all 16 felony charges against the actor. Protesters are seen demanding her removal in Chicago on April 1, 2019
Foxx denounced Webb’s appointment, saying that it was unnecessary to bring in a special prosecutor when the county’s inspector general was already looking into the case.
But Webb’s investigation proved very influential as it led to a grand jury indicting Smollett on new charges in February. Those charges, which were ridiculed by Foxx, are nearly identical to the ones her office dismissed.
Webb said that the decision to drop charges was unjustified in part because the evidence against Smollett seemed overwhelming and because he was not required to admit that the attack was a hoax.
The new charges threatened to bring down Foxx’s campaign for re-election as her opponents repeatedly used her perceived mistake as ammunition.
But Foxx overcame the opposition and won the Democratic nomination in March.
‘There was an effort to make this election about one big case involving a celebrity,’ she said in her victory speech. ‘The voters have overwhelmingly put that fallacy to rest.’
Webb’s determination on whether Foxx’s office engaged in misconduct in the Smollett case has yet to be released.
If it comes before the November election and contains damaging conclusions, Foxx could be facing another hard battle to keep her position.
EXAMPLES OF FELONY CASES DISMISSED BY FOXX’S OFFICE
Chicago Tribune’s analysis of Foxx’s record on dismissing felony charges did not include information about individual cases, however many examples have been covered in the media over the course of her time in office.
Below are descriptions of two of the defendants Foxx declined to prosecute.
Dnigma Howard – two counts of aggravated battery
Dnigma Howard was arrested and charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery in January 2019 after an incident at Marshall High School in Chicago.
Police accused Howard, then 16, of kicking, biting and spitting on two officers at the school who were trying to remove her from campus because she had been suspended.
A video of Howard’s altercation with the officers showed them tasering her and dragging her down a stairway after they wrestled to her floor.
The video went viral, sparking outrage from viewers who were horrified to see the officers use such intense force on a teenager.
Foxx’s office ultimately decided to drop the felony charges against Howard a month after her arrest – eliciting outrage from local police unions.
Read more here.
Ariel Roman – narcotics, resisting arrest
Ariel Roman was shot and injured by a Chicago police officer who tried to arrest him for jumping between train cars on February 28, 2020.
Roman was subsequently hit with charges for resisting arrest and narcotics after widely-shared bystander video showed him refusing to let police handcuff him before they opened fire.
After the video went viral Interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck said he asked Foxx’s office to drop the charges, which were initiated by police.
‘Given the totality of circumstances and the department’s significant level of concern around this incident, it would be insensitive to advocate for these charges,’ police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
‘While we will not rush to judgment, the level of concern over the tactics used in this incident is significant.’
Read more here.