Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx got into a verbal war of words after the latter refused to file any charges against suspects arrested following a deadly neighborhood gun battle in broad daylight between rival gang members that was caught on video and witnessed by police.
The shootout began when a trio of gang members fired into a home on Chicago’s West Side, prompting others inside to return fire, leaving one person dead. Five people were taken into custody, but Foxx refused to file charges citing “mutual combatants,” allowing them to be released from custody.
“She’s got to explain to the public, why? Given that evidence, a pod camera right there that captured the entire thing and police officers on the scene in uniform, and a squad car there, why that isn’t enough?” Lightfoot told a news conference Monday after the incident.
“If the bad guys that are out there that are picking up guns and shooting without any regard for the sanctity of life, do not believe that there’s accountability for them, the brazenness will not end,” Lightfoot predicted. “It will escalate, it will continue and our communities will not be safe.”
The West Side shootout occurred Friday in the Austin neighborhood, according to reports. Three gang members began firing into a single-family dwelling as they attempted to draw out members of a rival gang faction. But instead of venturing outside, the occupants returned fire from inside the home, with bullets striking and killing one of the outside shooters.
Police estimated more than 70 rounds were fired in all. The incident was captured on one of the city’s surveillance cameras. Uniformed Chicago PD officers in a marked vehicle arrived on the scene within a few moments and were witnesses to the firing.
In a letter obtained by Fox32, Lightfoot and five city aldermen appealed to Foxx to reconsider filing felony charges including attempted murder against at least two of the people who began firing first.
In a statement, Foxx explained her reasoning.
“As a former federal prosecutor, the Mayor knows of the ethical obligation of the prosecutor to only bring forth charges where the facts, evidence, and law support it. She is also fully aware that as a prosecutor we are obligated not to try cases in the media,” Foxx, whose campaign was financed in part by an organization funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros, said.
“It is unclear why she has chosen to make such statements, especially absent the full information that was presented to our office by [the Chicago Police Department]. The detectives reached out to our office on Friday and acknowledged at the outset that given the chaotic nature at the scene they were unable to determine how the events unfolded,” Foxx continued.
“We reviewed the evidence that was presented to us in consultation with the detectives and they agreed we were unable to approve charges based on the evidence presented. However, as always, as additional evidence is gathered we stand ready to bring charges when appropriate. Additionally, the facts the mayor presented today simply are not in line with what was presented to us by CPD, and not born out by the evidence we received,” she continued.
“The staggering violence that is devastating our communities is horrific, however, we must still adhere to both our ethical and legal standards in evaluating charges. As a former prosecutor, she knows that,” Foxx concluded.
The three people inside the house refused to come out and a SWAT team was summoned, which gave them time to ditch their guns and get rid of any evidence, according to the letter to Foxx. There were a number of gun cases but no guns found, which in and of itself should be investigated, the mayor and aldermen noted.
“Having looked at this, gotten a deep understanding from the detectives that were doing the investigation, it’s really hard to understand that decision,” Lightfoot noted during her press conference. “It’s complicated, for sure.
“But we really urge the State’s Attorney herself to get personally involved, look at the evidence, and I believe that there are charges that can be brought at a minimum against the individuals who initiated the gunfire,” she added.
“We can’t live in a world where there is no accountability,” she continued. “When there’s no accountability, meaning individuals who wreak havoc, who fire indiscriminately or fire at a target but without any regard for the sanctity of life and the health and well-being of others, if they do not feel like the criminal justice system is going to hold them accountable, we’re going to see a level of brazenness that will send the city into chaos. We cannot let that happen.”
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