Whoops! “African American police chiefs” are no-shows for Kim Foxx rally

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx speaks at Rainbow PUSH headquarters. | Nader Issa

UPDATE: A south suburban mayor states that Foxx met privately with a group of south suburban mayors and black police chiefs in Markham more than two hours before the Rainbow PUSH press conference. There’s no word on why the meeting took place separately or why suburban chiefs did not appear for the media availability as promoted.
Well, that didn’t go so well…or, maybe, it went perfectly.

Chicago media gathered at Rainbow PUSH headquarters in Kenwood on Saturday morning for what was supposed to be a rally for Kim Foxx featuring “south suburban African American police chiefs.”

It was a counter-point to the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police press conference on Thursday in which dozens of suburban police chiefs expressed “no confidence” in Foxx’s management of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office with the Jussie Smollett case being one point of concern.

There was a problem this morning though. Despite promises made to the media, no police chiefs showed up to support Foxx. Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. organized the event but offered no explanation for the African American police chiefs’ absences.

Foxx’s comments, preceded by activist Jamal Green’s declaration of police to be the “Blue Klux Klan,” were brief. Foxx did not object to the Klan reference, and she repeatedly ignored inquiries from reporter Matt Finn about her support for the comment.

After days of mixed messages and conflicting statements from Foxx and her top leadership, the state’s attorney made no effort to set the record straight regarding the Smollett case.

Instead, she repeatedly stated that she had “recused” herself from the Smollett case, when, in fact, she has already admitted that she did not recuse herself. The term was used “colloquially,” her office clarified after the truth came out, not in the legal sense that would require an outside attorney’s office to take over the case.

Foxx also once again dove for cover behind the volume of cases her office handles and, sickeningly, the children who are regularly shot on the streets of Chicago. Of course, diverting precious resources from “real” crime victims is precisely the reason Smollett was charged in the first place. Want to show the public that you’re serious about the judicious use of resources, Ms. Foxx? Prosecute celebrities who tie up those resources to bolster their shrinking fame.

Toward the end of her comments on Saturday, Foxx said that for two weeks since the Smollett case imploded, she’s been asking, “What is this really about?”  May we suggest that what it’s really about is the obvious: The unusual, hurried, non-transparent resolution of a high-profile case and a series of conflicting answers that have followed from Foxx and her office. That’s what it’s really about.

Foxx had every opportunity to shoot straight about the Smollett case on Saturday. Why not do it? Why not give fulsome, honest answers to a few simple questions that are on many minds:

  • What was the basis for seeking an “emergency” hearing to resolve the Smollett case? 
  • Why were CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson and his department not given a heads up that charges were going to be dropped? 
  • Why did Foxx’s lead attorney on the case not object to the immediate sealing of the Smollett case records? 
  • Court researchers found that every other similar false report case handled by Foxx’s office since she took office resulted in a guilty plea. Why was Smollett’s case the first to be handled differently?
  • If deferred prosecution was the prosecutor’s goal, why did her office not follow state guidelines for such actions, requiring Smollett to maintain a clean record and perform a specific amount of community service over several months or more? 
  • Why did she continually say that she had “recused” herself from the case due to potential conflicts of interest, only to later reveal that she never actually recused herself?  
  • Why did she resurrect the “recusal” talking point even after admitting that it wasn’t factual?
  • Why, after she and her top lawyers insisted for days that the case was winnable and the police investigation solid, did Foxx write a newspaper op-ed in which she said the evidence was weak?

We may never find out—at least not from Foxx herself. She has apparently decided to take shelter behind the “racism” shield rather than doing what elected officials in charge of prosecuting crimes with moral authority across the nation regularly do: Speak clearly and unambiguously about how their offices seek justice on behalf of victims and the state both in general and specific terms.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com