Chicago Sun-Times

Foxx: Of­fice erring on side of dis­miss­ing protest, cur­few cases

- BY MATTHEW HENDRICKSO­N, STAFF RE­PORTER mhen­drick­son@sun­times.com | @MHen­drick­sonCST Crime · Society · Discrimination · Incidents · Fraud · Human Rights · White-collar Crime · Cook County · Chicago Police Department

Cook County State’s At­tor­ney Kim Foxx con­firmed Tues­day that her of­fice will err on the side of dis­miss­ing charges stem­ming from ar­rests at demon­stra­tions and for city­wide cur­few vi­o­la­tions dur­ing the week of protests and civil un­rest in the wake of Ge­orge Floyd’s death.

Foxx said her di­rec­tive was about pri­or­i­tiz­ing higher-level felony cases over mis­de­meanors, a pol­icy she has ar­gued for fre­quently since she was elected in 2016.

“The ques­tion it comes down to is, is it a good use of our time and re­sources?” Foxx told the Chicago Sun-Times. “No, it’s not.”

Be­tween May 30 and June 6, about 5,000 peo­ple across the county were ar­rested. Half of those re­sulted in mis­de­meanor charges, a quar­ter re­sulted in felony charges and the rest were cur­few vi­o­la­tions and dis­or­derly con­duct cases.

More than 800 of those mis­de­meanors will be re­viewed and likely will be dis­missed, the top prose­cu­tor told the Sun-Times.

Foxx said pros­e­cu­tors will be en­cour­aged to use a “pre­sump­tion of dis­missal” when re­view­ing the mis­de­meanors is­sued for dis­or­derly con­duct, pub­lic demon­stra­tion and un­law­ful gath­er­ing. For more se­ri­ous charges, in­clud­ing re­sist­ing ar­rest, mob ac­tion and ag­gra­vated bat­tery to a po­lice of­fi­cer, pros­e­cu­tors should de­cline to pros­e­cute un­less body­worn po­lice cam­era or dash cam­era footage is avail­able and shows the of­fense was “in­ten­tional and/or ma­li­cious in na­ture,” Foxx said.

The state’s at­tor­ney’s of­fice also will be re­view­ing cases in which an ar­rest was prompted by an al­leged cur­few vi­o­la­tion.

A re­cent Sun-Times anal­y­sis of charges re­lated to cur­few vi­o­la­tions found that 75% of peo­ple charged in the city were African Amer­i­can. Chicago po­lice records also showed that en­force­ment of the cur­few was al­most solely enforced on the city’s West and South sides.

Foxx said she was dis­heart­ened by those fig­ures, es­pe­cially be­cause the protests “re­volved around what peo­ple view as sys­temic racism” in polic­ing.

City or­di­nance vi­o­la­tions are pros­e­cuted by the city’s cor­po­ra­tion coun­sel, and Foxx said she has di­rected pros­e­cu­tors not to help the city ar­gue the vi­o­la­tions tied to the protests in court.

City of­fi­cials did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

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Kim Foxx

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