State's Attorney Foxx pushes back on criticism from opponent, top cop after Chicago looting

  • Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx speaks to reporters at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago in this Feb. 23, 2019, photo.

    Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx speaks to reporters at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago in this Feb. 23, 2019, photo. Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, File

  • Republican candidate for Cook County state's attorney Patrick W. "Pat" O'Brien spoke earlier this year with the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

      Republican candidate for Cook County state's attorney Patrick W. "Pat" O'Brien spoke earlier this year with the Daily Herald Editorial Board. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/10/2020 6:50 PM

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx was at the center of controversy Monday over vandalism and looting in Chicago's downtown business district, but rejected criticism from Chicago's police superintendent and her Republican opponent as "blame games."

Police Supt. David Brown's assertion that looters were emboldened by "no consequences" in the criminal justice system has no basis, Foxx said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Pat O'Brien, Foxx's Republican opponent, seized on the situation, and on a Chicago Tribune report saying Foxx's office dismissed felony cases -- including murder and sexual assault -- at a rate higher than her predecessor Anita Alvarez.

Foxx disputed the report, saying during a news conference Monday that "the bulk of the cases that have been dropped by this administration compared to the previous administration were drug cases" and not violent crimes.

"The numbers were statistically insignificant," said Foxx, who is running for a second term on Nov. 3. "It turned out that there were eight more murders in this administration that had been dismissed than prior ... Statistically that eight was a jump, but it was a statistically insignificant amount."

For cases classified as serious -- homicide, sexual assault, armed robbery -- her office's approval and "conviction rates were similar if not better" than her predecessor, Foxx said.

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for a "comprehensive, all-hands-on-deck strategy" against looting. She called for accountability and not people being "cycled through the system."

Foxx said prosecutors drop cases for many reasons: for example when "facts and the evidence don't substantiate a charge"; when the victim or a key witness refuses to cooperate; or when it becomes clear that the person charged with a crime has been misidentified, as was an individual charged with a quadruple homicide about a month ago.

O'Brien commented about what he calls his opponent's failure to approve certain charges, which he attributes to her "never having tried a felony case."

The Chicago Tribune report indicated Foxx's overall 66% conviction rate during her first three years in office falls short of Alvarez's conviction rate, which was 75% during her last three years in office.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

O'Brien has criticized Foxx on his campaign website, claiming she has "completely ignored public safety."

Over her term, he says her office's jury trial conviction rate is "under 65%. As we know from our days in school that's an F," O'Brien said.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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