Chicago, IL – The Chicago police union is calling for the resignation of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and they’re staging a protest at her office on April 1st (be sure to spread the word).
Chicago Fraternal Order of Police First Vice President Patrick Murray told Blue Lives Matter that Foxx’s handling of “Empire” star Jussie Smollett’s case was the final straw for the police union.
On Tuesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct against Smollett, who was accused of having falsely reported a hoax hate crime to police on Jan. 29.
In exchange for the leniency, Smollett forfeited the $10,000 bond he’d paid to get out of jail after he was arrested and performed 16 hours of community service for Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Murray, a recently retired 30-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, said that Foxx needed to be “held accountable for what’s she’s done.”
“She’s not above the law either,” he pointed out. “I think this entire thing is an obstruction of justice – her talking to another attorney and then reaching out to our police superintendent to ask him to involve another agency that had no jurisdiction was just wrong. She overstepped her bounds.”
“I think she needs to step down,” Murray told Blue Lives Matter. “I think she violated her ethics oath. Somebody else should become the state’s attorney – she should just step down and walk away.”
“How many other cases has she stepped in and done something like this that we’re not even aware of?” he asked.
Murray pointed out that Foxx ignored the recommendation of her own ethics officer in her handling of the Smollett case.
“A state’s attorney should not be speaking with a family who is involved like this – she has an ethics officer who told her to recuse herself and she didn’t do that. She was supposed to give the case to another jurisdiction to prosecute it but instead she just passed it to Magats,” he said.
State law requires that "the court shall appoint a special prosecutor" after a state's attorney recuses herself on a case, according to the Chicago Patch.
First Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Joseph Magats took over the Smollett case after Foxx announced she was recusing herself on Feb. 21, the same day that the actor turned himself into the Chicago Police Department.
But after Foxx took heavy fire for her office’s decision to let Smollett get off pretty much scot free on Tuesday, her office announced that she had never officially recused herself from the Smollett case but had only done so “colloquially,” the New York Post reported.
Cook County State's Attorney Spokeswoman Kiera Ellis on Wednesday told the Chicago Patch in a written statement that Foxx "did not formally recuse herself or the [State's Attorney] Office based on any actual conflict of interest. As a result, she did not have to seek the appointment of a special prosecutor."
Ellis said that Foxx’s public announcement of her recusal “was a colloquial use of the term rather than in its legal sense," the Chicago Patch reported.
"Instead, in an abundance of caution, [Foxx] informally separated herself from the decision-making over the case and left it to her Assistants, as happens in 99.9% of all cases handled by the Office,” Ellis explained.
On Thursday, the Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association weighed in and called Foxx’s handling of the Smollett case “highly unusual” and “not condoned,” WMAQ reported.
"The manner in which this case was dismissed was abnormal and unfamiliar to those who practice law in criminal courthouses across the state," the association said in a written statement. "Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges alike do not recognize the arrangement Mr. Smollett received. Even more problematic, the State’s Attorney and her representatives have fundamentally misled the public on the law and circumstances surrounding the dismissal."
The Illinois House GOP leader has called on Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to investigate the handling of the Smollett case, saying it sets a “dangerous precedent for high profile cases,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The FOP said that as badly as Foxx has handled the Smollett case, there are other cases in which the Cook County state’s attorney has shown worse judgment.
Murray pointed to the murder of Chicago Police Officer John P. Rivera on March 23. The 23-year-old police officer was gunned down by a career criminal who was looking for a Hispanic person to shoot.
Officer Rivera’s killer, Melelik Jackson, had an unusual track record with the Chicago Police Department, according to WBBM.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Jackson had applied to be on the police force, but was busted doing an armed home invasion while he was still going through the background investigation part of the application process.
He was convicted for the home invasion and has also added two domestic violence convictions to his record in the time since he applied to become a police officer, WBBM reported.
“You’ve got a guy being released back out on the street who should not be out on the street,” the FOP spokesman said. “They’re letting vicious criminals back out on the street and people are getting killed. Once these guys are behind bars, they should not be released.”
Murray said the FOP would also be protesting for Foxx’s resignation for her handling of Chicago Police Officer Tito “Mannie” Rodriguez’s killer.
Officer Rodriguez, 28, was killed off-duty on his motorcycle in 2014 by a reckless driver on the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Dennis Anderson was charged with reckless homicide in the officer’s death, WBBM reported.
But in 2018, Foxx offered the police officer’s killer a plea deal without the knowledge or consent of Officer Rodriguez’s family.
“There was a plea deal made behind the family’s back and they knocked it down to misdemeanor,” Murray told Blue Lives Matter.
He said Foxx getting personally involved in the “Empire” star’s case was one step too far.
“This just smells,” the FOP spokesman told Blue Lives Matter. “I was on the job for more than 29 years and I’ve never seen anything like this. This is horrific what has happened. She just basically let this guy walk.”
“Enough is enough. He involved a lots of people and the bottom line is that he needs to be held accountable,” Murray ranted.
The FOP protest will be held outside the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office on Monday – April Fool’s Day – at 11 a.m.
Despite the date, Murray told Blue Lives Matter that the protest was no joke.
He said the FOP had gotten hundreds of likes on their social media posts about Monday’s protest, and that they hoped members of the community would join them in demanding Foxx’s resignation.
“We’re going to have a lot of people come out to express their displeasure with Kim Foxx,” Murray told Blue Lives Matter. “The more the merrier. She needs to step down and be replaced.”
Be sure to spread the word on social media.