Problems Mount For Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx Following Decision to Drop Charges Against Jussie Smollett
Fox News reports that three ranking staff members in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office have resigned in the wake of the decision to drop charges against Jussie Smollett. This includes “Chief Ethics Officer April Perry; the director of the conviction integrity unit, Mark Rotart; and the director of external affairs, Kiera Ellis.”
According to Fox News, two petitions were recently filed in Cook County Criminal Court requesting an investigation into the case. In addition, President Trump has asked for a federal review. The Cook County Inspector General is currently examining the circumstances surrounding the decision to clear Smollett.
In addition to these departures, Foxx faces new scrutiny over her personal relationship with the subject of a pending criminal case her office is handling.
On July 19, 2018, Chicago activist Jedidiah Brown, 32, organized a demonstration. Chicago police officers David Alvarez and Jeffrey Shafer warned Brown several times that his event could not cause any disruption to “pedestrian or vehicular” traffic flow in the city. “The warnings were audio recorded and videotaped.” After failing to comply, the officers tried to arrest Brown, who resisted, and allegedly punched and kicked them.
Two weeks ago, The Rev. Jesse Jackson held a rally to support Foxx at his Rainbow Push headquarters. Foxx posed for a photograph with Brown, which Brown later posted on Facebook along with the caption, “Let the record reflect, I stand with Kim Foxx. Blue Klux Klan we aren’t going without a fight you’ll never forget!”
Severals days before this rally, according to Buzz Feed News, Brown was photographed “facing off with a Fraternal Order of Police supporter protesting the handling of the Jussie Smollett case” by Foxx. The photo can be viewed here.
In addition, it appears that Brown may have campaigned with Foxx during her run for the State’s Attorney position in 2015. “Brown is quoted in this Al Jazeera article saying “we worked hard to get Kim Foxx elected.”
Needless to say, the police officers, Alvarez and Shafer, are concerned that Foxx’ office will treat Brown’s case too leniently.
The attorney for the officers, James McKay, has filed a petition in Cook County Criminal Court “requesting that Foxx’s office be removed from the Brown case and a special prosecutor assigned.”
McKay told Fox News, “This is not right. The guy’s got a criminal case pending. A prosecutor has the duty to avoid the slightest appearance of impropriety. Not be with him. Period. It’s just improper.”
Police allege Brown was aggressive, defiant and resistant to police commands to march peacefully, resulting in his arrest in which Brown kicked and punched the police officers. McKay tells Fox News he has obtained an online video that shows Brown preparing to potentially physically engage with police by removing his jewelry on his way to the protest.
McKay says after Brown’s arrest, as detectives investigated, Chicago police held Brown on felony charges of aggravated battery against two on-duty police officers but high ranking members of Foxx’s staff showed up and rejected the felony charges police recommended — despite what McKay says is abundant amount supporting video evidence for felony charges. Brown’s attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, acknowledges to Fox News there is some type of videos that exist. Their exact content is not clear.
Brown was charged with two counts of lesser misdemeanor battery, one count resisting arrest and one count of obstruction of traffic, McKay tells Fox News. Brown’s assault charges are pending in Cook County criminal court.
Of course, Brown’s attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, told Fox, “All the allegations in the criminal complaint, they are unfounded…I think having a photograph together with the State’s Attorney, lots of people do, it’s really not a conflict of interest. Kim Foxx takes photos with lots of people. That’s up for the judge to decide.”
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