Since the beginning of April, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx has faced an unrelenting onslaught of deceptive public attacks and racialized vitriol intended to malign her office over its decision to drop charges in the sensationalized case against actor Jussie Smollett. What began as an isolated public protest, made up of hardline opponents of police reform and members of white nationalist groups, rapidly erupted into a barrage of insidiously distorted media reports and unjustified calls of condemnation against Foxx from the likes of outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and President Donald Trump. The culmination of this politicized charade was marked by an unprecedented vote of no confidence by the Chicago police union and 30 suburban police chiefs.
Foxx's detractors have sought to exploit the scandalous nature of the allegations in the Smollet case as a means to stoke unwarranted public outrage against the State's Attorney. The true object of her opponents' indignation, however, is Foxx's assailing commitment to promoting racial justice in county law enforcement and upending systemic police violence, corruption and impunity. The success Foxx has achieved in enforcing police accountability and reversing mass incarceration as head of the nation's second largest prosecutor's office has incited outrage among Cook County's powerful police unions and their allied stakeholders. The recent outpouring of hostility, misinformation and inflammatory dog whistling over the Smollet case marks the opening salvo in what is certain to be a ruthless battle to unseat Kim Foxx in the 2020 prosecutor's race.
The decision of the State's Attorney's office in the Smollet case should serve as a model for all public officials who profess their commitment to reversing mass incarceration and promoting equal justice in law enforcement. Despite the disgraceful nature of the allegations and mounting public outcry for retribution, Foxx's office handled the Smollet case with equanimity. Resisting the ingrained political impulse to sate public bloodthirst with the proverbial pound of flesh, the State's Attorney's office exercised reasoned prosecutorial discretion in its decision to drop charges against Smollet. Under Foxx's progressive policies, 75% of defendants who, like Smollett, plead not guilty to class four felonies have their charges dismissed. This practice -- which has diverted nearly six thousand community members accused of low-level offenses away from the toxic prison system -- is a fulfillment of Foxx's campaign promise to reverse Cook County's overly punitive and racially targeted prosecutorial policies. Our communities deserve more leaders like Kim Foxx, who will uphold principles of justice, equity and liberation, not only when it is politically popular, but also when it is not.
Throughout her tenure as State's Attorney, Kim Foxx has implemented policies that promote racial and economic justice in the law enforcement system. She has championed reform of the county's wealth based pretrial detention practices, initiated mass exonerations of convictions stemming from abusive policing, and refused to prosecute low level charges related to unpaid traffic fines, marijuana possession and minor retail theft. Moreover, Foxx has advanced a public safety narrative that calls for an end to mass incarceration and racially targeted policing, and a reinvestment of taxpayer dollars into schools, mental health services and drug treatment programs.
By improving police accountability and fostering equity in the court system, Kim Foxx poses an existential threat to individuals and institutions that derive power through the subjugation, exploitation and plunder of Black communities. In an effort to preserve systems of racialized dominance and control, Foxx's opposition has unleashed a calculated campaign of deceit, fearmongering and race baiting, with the aim of removing the State's Attorney from office.
Amidst this hostility, the Workers Center for Racial Justice is proud to stand with State's Attorney Kim Foxx as an unwavering champion justice, equity and liberation in Cook County