Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot isn’t the only public official in the Chicagoland area complaining about Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s inability or unwillingness to prosecute felony cases. Several Illinois Republicans and suburban police chiefs in northern Illinois are also speaking out about policies, which they say are exacerbating the violence in their communities.
State Rep. Jim Durkin and Sen. John Curran have introduced a bill that would empower local police departments to bring charges against criminal suspects, even if local prosecutors take a pass, and Durkin says it’s already being warmly received by many departments in the Chicago suburbs.
Durkin held a meeting with over two dozen police chiefs from Cook County last week.
“The frustration they have is profound,” he said. “The crime in Chicago is moving out to the suburbs. We’re having carjackings at a record pace in suburban Chicago, kidnappings, murders. Things you typically see in a large metropolitan area are making it into the suburbs. The same frustration you see with the Chicago police is now with the suburban police.”
One of the recent incidents that motivated Durkin to propose the bill was a recent shootout between two groups of suspected gang members in Chicago. Despite some of the shootout being captured on the bodycams of the first officers to arrive on scene, and the arrest of three individuals in connection with the shooting, Foxx declined to press charges claiming that police hadn’t presented her with a strong enough case. As we’ve previously documented, however, there are inexplicable charging decisions coming out of Foxx’s office on an almost daily basis. Just today the website CWB Chicago highlighted a man accused repeatedly stabbing someone, only to be charged with a misdemeanor.
A man who has a history of attacking passers-by and transit workers allegedly stabbed a 66-year-old man five times near Union Station late last month. But he is only charged with one count of misdemeanor battery, even though a CPD report says the victim wanted to pursue felony charges.
The story was brought to our attention yesterday after we reported that a woman who only received misdemeanor probation for stabbing a CTA worker in the neck was arrested over the weekend when she allegedly brandished a knife and stole a purse from a wedding party in Millennium Park. She was only charged with misdemeanors. Again.
Why are so many accused stabbers only being charged with misdemeanors? Is it because these incidents can’t be classified as “gun violence” and are therefore not as much of a priority? Or is this just another case of Foxx’s office going soft on crime?
According to a CPD report, police responded to a “person stabbed” call on the 400 block of West Jackson around 9:30 p.m. on September 28.
When they arrived, they met with Amtrak police officers who said they saw Leonard Hall, 51, running away from a 66-year-old man who was lying on the ground with multiple stab wounds. Amtrak cops detained Hall and recovered a bloody knife before Chicago officers arrived, the report said.
Hall told Amtrak police that he stabbed the victim, according to court records.
The victim was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with three stab wounds to his forehead, one to his left flank, and another to his left ear, the CPD report said. Doctors used stitches and staples to close him back up.
Chicago officers noted in their report that the victim specifically wanted to pursue felony charges against Hall.
But prosecutors did not approve any felonies.
Instead, Hall is charged only with one count of misdemeanor battery. He was released from the police station on his own recognizance the next afternoon, according to CPD records.
So, prosecutors have a victim willing to testify. They have a bloody knife as evidence. They have a confession by the alleged attacker. And they went with a charge of misdemeanor battery?
I don’t know if Durkin’s bill has a chance in the Democrat-controlled legislature, but at least he’s trying to find a fix for Foxx’s willful ineptitude. I hope while he’s at it he’ll support measures to get rid of the state’s Firearm Owner ID requirement for all gun owners, which has proved to be an unconstitutional burden on Illinois residents and has deprived tens of thousands of them their Second Amendment rights thanks to months-long delays in processing FOID applications on the part of the Illinois State Police. The right to keep and bear arms is fundamentally important even in the most peaceful communities, but when prosecutors and judges are releasing violent criminals back on to the streets with a slap on the wrist, not being able to exercise that right can literally mean the difference between life and death.