Afeef cites activism, background in bid for Kane County state's attorney in 2020
Junaid "J" Afeef believes he has the courtroom and law enforcement experience, along with the moral conviction, to be the next Kane County state's attorney.
Afeef, 50, of Elgin, is running as a Democrat and his experience includes serving as an assistant Cook County public defender and chief legal counsel for the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. He now prosecutes nursing home violations for the Illinois Department of Public Health.
"The criminal justice systems has to be fixed," Afeef said. "The state's attorney's office has tremendous authority in deciding what charges to bring against a defendant."
A new state's attorney will be elected in November 2020.
Joe McMahon, who was appointed as state's attorney in late 2010 and reelected in 2012 and 2016 after running unopposed, is not seeking a third, 4-year term.
Jamie Mosser, a Campton Hills resident and former Kane County assistant state's attorney, is running as a Democrat and could face Afeef and others in a spring 2020 primary.
Afeef praised McMahon for his courage to prosecute former Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke for the murder of Laquan McDonald. In October 2018, a jury convicted Van Dyke of second-degree murder.
Afeef also sees the state's attorney's role as an activist and government adviser in addition to being a law enforcement officer.
"I have the moral commitment to address explicit and implicit biases that exist in our system," he said. "These are tough conversations to have. I have the background. The challenge is you don't have everybody on the same page and I think I can do that."
If elected, he said he will work toward ending mass incarceration, put justice ahead of winning convictions, protect all victims regardless of immigration status, and fight violent crime. Afeef noted his background working with Chicago Police, the FBI, Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center will help him combat crimes.
"The focus of our work was 'how do we address mass casualty violence?'" he said. "It's not the kind of thing that you see every day. But it's the kind of thing you don't address properly can lead to serious consequences."