Chicago police seek federal prosecutions for looters, rioters

Following the destruction and looting of the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, there’s been a curious lack of interest in prosecuting the offenders on the part of the Cook County State’s Attorney. That would be Kim Foxx, who many of you are likely familiar with from her involvement in the Jussie Smollett fiasco. With few signs that her office is taking the charges seriously or has any intention of holding many of the rioters accountable, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police sent a letter to U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr. to request prosecution of the rioters on federal charges. But even assuming that the U.S. Attorney’s office has the resources to handle all of these cases, it’s not yet clear precisely what federal charges would be applicable. (CBS Chicago)

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara issued a letter to U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr. Wednesday, calling for federal prosecutions for people arrested in looting during civil unrest.

In the letter, which the FOP said would be hand-delivered Thursday morning, Catanzara accused Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx of failing to take action against such defendants at the state level.

Catanzara noted that Chicago Police officers who belong to the FOP were on the front lines during civil unrest and looting back in late May, as well as early this past Monday morning.

In their letter, the FOP noted that Foxx’s office has instituted a ‘presumption of dismissal’ for all but the most serious violent crimes, opting not to prosecute the vast majority of them. Given the danger that the Chicago PD faced, having bricks and bottles hurled at them as they attempted to protect the business district, Catanzara claims that the feds need to step in and send a serious message to the rioters.

That last statement seemed to relate to comments made by Mayor Lori Lightfoot earlier this week. When addressing the media, she noted that “the people involved in the looting did not seem to be worried about any consequences.” Lightfoot wouldn’t go so far as to directly criticize Foxx by name, but she’s obviously grown concerned (finally) over the brazen nature of the rioters.

So does Foxx have an explanation for her inaction? During a presser on Monday, she described herself as being “heartbroken, angry and confused” over how the situation has deteriorated so seriously. She pointed out that Chicago had seen a drop in some types of crime throughout 2017 through 2019. But she then described 2020 as “a year unlike any other.”

That doesn’t sound like much of an explanation to me. Yes, there is civil unrest sweeping the major cities of our nation and there’s a lot of crime taking place. But an increase in crime is not some sort of excuse for the prosecutor’s office to throw up their hands and tell us that we’re going to need to do some soul-searching rather than moving forward to trial.

As mentioned above, Foxx has already come under plenty of scrutiny for her mishandling of the Jussie Smollett case. That issue was brought up repeatedly as she faced a primary challenge earlier this year, but in a crowded field of contenders she fended off the competition yet again. But now, if she continues to sit on her hands when it comes to the rioters, I can’t imagine the voters being willing to continue to tolerate this type of behavior. If Foxx doesn’t want to prosecute people, why did she run for the office?