Dueling protesters in Chicago debate future of prosecutor Kim Foxx
One protest called for Kim Foxx to resign. The other offered her support.
Two protests in Chicago on Monday were held for and against Foxx, the Cook County state’s attorney whose office dropped charges against actor Jussie Smollett last week.
A protest held by the Fraternal Order of Police, the city’s police union, called for her to resign for failing to follow through on the charges in a case that they said used significant police resources.
“We can’t have people who have been arrested, their victims are not being counted for,” Fraternal Order of Police president Kevin Graham told CNN affiliate WLS. “We really need to have people in the prosecutor’s office following through with charges that our detectives and our police officers worked hard to bring to a court case.”
Several dozen protesters gathered outside the county building and held up signs such as “The Foxx Fixx: Justice for sale” and “Lady Justice Was Out-Foxxed,” and chanted “Foxx must go.” The union has also called for a federal investigation into the extent of Foxx’s involvement in the case.
Separately, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other local activists rallied in support of Foxx. One activist, Ja’Mal Green, questioned where these protesters were during the shooting of Laquan McDonald or during other murders and serious violent crimes in the city over the years.
“It just shocks me that now we have a black state’s attorney who has promised to reform the state’s attorney’s office, and she didn’t prosecute a low-level felony on someone, (and) that now we have this type of outrage,” he said.
The protests come a week after Foxx’s office decided to drop 16 felony charges against Smollett, and in exchange, he agreed to forefit his $10,000 bail and complete community service. Smollett had been accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack against himself and filing a false police report.
Smollett has maintained his innocence and said he has been “truthful and consistent” about the incident.
Chicago’s mayor and police superintendent both harshly criticized the decision to drop the charges, and said they still believe the “Empire” actor staged the attack on himself.
Foxx, too, initially said her office believed they could prove him guilty, she told CNN affiliate WLS. However, she wrote in The Chicago Tribune on Friday that certain aspects of the evidence and testimony in the case would have made a conviction difficult.
“In determining whether or not to pursue charges, prosecutors are required to balance the severity of the crime against the likelihood of securing a conviction,” she wrote. “For a variety of reasons, including public statements made about the evidence in this case, my office believed the likelihood of securing a conviction was not certain.”