Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx have been locked in conflict all summer. The FOP claim that Kim Foxx is “not working with the police but against them.” Kim Foxx claims that the FOP is stirring up division.
The FOP Contend that Kim Foxx’s Decisions Have Resulted in Increased Chicago Violence
Cook County FOP Board President Toni Preckwinkle recently wrote an angry letter to Chicago's Mayor Lightfoot. In the letter, she claims that Kimberly Foxx is working against the police. Preckwinkle contends that Foxx's bail reform strategies, along with her "willingness to release convicted killers on frivolous claims of wrongful convictions" are a "key reason for the low-resolution rates" of homicides.
Preckwinkle went on to say that it is not true that the increase in Chicago violence is due to the failure of country judges and prosecutors to do their job. She points to the fact that Chicago has one of the lowest homicide clearance rates in the country. A homicide clearance rate is the rate at which homicides end in an arrest of a suspect or at least in the identification of a suspect who police cannot arrest.
The Chicago FOP cites two specific instances, among others, that justify their distrust of the state’s attorney:
- First, a police officer claimed that a community activist who had political ties to Foxx assaulted him with a collapsible metal baton. Foxx’s initial reluctance to recuse herself from the criminal proceedings and her seeming alliance with the defendant rubbed many on the police force the wrong way. While she did ultimately recuse herself and the alleged assailant is now being prosecuted, many see this as too little too late.
- Second, Cook County prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett. Prosecutors announced this decision only 18 days after Smollet faced a grand jury indictment on 16 felony counts. The actor allegedly paid two Nigerian-American brothers to stage a hate crime assault on him then file a fake police report. A special prosecutor has been appointed by the Court and is now investigating why Kim Foxx's office dismissed the charges against him. In April, groups of Chicago metropolitan suburban area police chiefs took a vote of no confidence due to the dismissal of the criminal charges against Smollett.
Additionally, the FOP claims that state prosecutors are not informing police officers who have been victims of a crime of prosecutorial decisions in their cases. They further complain that Mrs. Foxx is not prosecuting people at all for crimes like theft, driving without a license, and many drug crimes. There have been rumors swirling for months that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office is going to disband the narcotics prosecutions unit altogether. All of these grievances have culminated in the FOP calling for the resignation of Kim Foxx.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx Is Fighting Back Against Criticism From Chicago Police Officers
On July 3rd, Foxx publicly struck back against claims from the FOP and others that she cannot be trusted as a Cook County State’s Attorney. Foxx called the criticism from FOP President Kevin Graham nothing more than a publicity stunt. Using even stronger letters, she stated that Graham’s intended his comments to “to make news, not comments.” She went on to say that his tactics are not only unproductive but have “dangerous collateral consequences.”
She went on to state that her office approves 96% of charges in cases in which police officers have been victims. Further, she pointed out that under her leadership, Cook County prosecutors enjoy an 89% conviction rate on criminal cases in which a police officer is a victim, an improvement over the previous administration.
Chicago Has One of the Lowest Homicide Resolution Rates in the Country
USA Today reports that Chicago only cleared 26% of its homicide cases in 2016. FBI crime and data experts note that many other big cities like Chicago are also struggling to resolve gun crimes. Hostile political divides between police officers and local politicians have contributed to low homicide resolution rates.
Additionally, distrust of police officers leads to a reluctance of witnesses to crimes to come forward and talk about crimes. Potential witnesses to crimes are increasingly worried about retaliation from the person who committed the crime or from gangs. Since most Chicago homicides do not lead to an arrest, the people committing the crimes are still on the streets and ready to retaliate against witnesses. Police have also complained that the bond policy of the Cook County State’s Attorney is contributing to these low clearance rates. They claim that for a few dollars and ankle bracelets, criminals arrested with illegal guns that have military-grade firepower and armor-piercing bullets are being released back into the community creating problems of witness intimidation which further hobbles prosecutions.
If You are Facing a Criminal Charge in Cook County, We are Here to Help
The relationship between politicians and police officers in Chicago continues to erode. We cannot predict what the future will hold, but we do know the criminal justice system in Cook County is volatile. If you are facing a criminal charge, you need the best defense possible. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys represent clients all over Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, and DuPage counties. To contact us, please fill out our online form for an initial consultation.
(image courtesy of Matt Popovich)