The head of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police penned a
letter to U.S. Attorney John Lausch Wednesday, calling on federal officials to
intervene if Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx declines to move forward
with prosecutions for individuals accused of looting or other criminal activity
during civil unrest in the city.
The letter, written by FOP Lodge President John Catanzara, will
be delivered to Lausch’s office Thursday, the FOP says. The letter criticizes
Foxx’s decision to institute a “presumption of dismissal” for charges related
to looting, and alleged that she was subscribing to an “arbitrary theory that
the offenders were protesters and somehow had the right to commit crimes due to
the unfortunate death of George Floyd in Minnesota.”
“Our members did not arrest peaceful protesters. Our members
arrested violent looters and criminals who took advantage of a situation,” the
letter read. “It’s time for the State’s Attorney of Cook County to do her job,
or if she refuses, the United State’s (sic) Attorney’s Office to step in. Your
office has the power and expertise to prosecute these cases and we beseech you
to step in and stand for law and order as Chicago police officers do each and
The comments harken back to a policy that Foxx said was put in place in late June, which would encourage prosecutors to use a “presumption of dismissal” for reviewing misdemeanors related to disorderly conduct, public demonstration and unlawful gathering charges,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Even in cases with more serious charges, prosecutors were
encouraged to decline prosecution unless body-worn police camera or dash-camera
footage was available.
Foxx disputed the idea that her office’s decisions on prosecutions encouraged looters to once again strike over the weekend. Her office has been under scrutiny from various outlets after a Chicago Tribune analysis found that felony cases involving charges of murder and other offenses at a higher rate than her predecessor.
Catanzara was not done criticizing Foxx’s office, blasting
reported plans of a Saturday protest that could take place on Chicago’s Dan
Ryan Expressway as an “act of terrorism.”
“We have also learned that there is a major protest
scheduled for this weekend on the Dan Ryan Expressway which will lead to more
civil unrest and violence,” he said. “The expressways should provide federal
jurisdiction, as it will impede interstate commerce and to be quite frank, to
block an interstate highway is an act of terrorism.”
Catanzara’s letter was also sent to President Donald Trump
and Attorney General William Barr.
The protest is scheduled for noon Saturday, with multiple organizations
set to participate. Marchers intend to enter the Dan Ryan Expressway near 47th
Street, and will march along the roadway. Numerous alterations have been made
to the march route in consultation with city officials, with the entrance ramp
to the highway set to be closed after protesters march onto the roadway.
It is unclear at this time how many protesters will participate in the demonstration, but more than 2,000 individuals have indicated they are “interested” in participating, according to the march’s Facebook page.