CHICAGO (WGN) — Chicago’s mayor voiced her displeasure with the state’s attorney after Cook County’s top prosecutor declined to charge any suspects involved in a deadly shootout on the city’s West Side.
No charges will be filed in connection to a SWAT standoff in the city’s North Austin neighborhood Friday, marking the second instance within a week where Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has not pursued charges in a case connected to a death.
Police say they have video evidence and plenty of witnesses, which is why many city leaders, including Chicago police and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, are questioning the state’s attorney’s quick decision not to file any charges.
“Having been a prosecutor myself, having been briefed and looked at the evidence myself, I see grounds for charges,” Lightfoot said.
Responding to a call, police arrived at a house in the North Austin neighborhood on Friday. Shortly thereafter, two cars pulled up and three individuals in the cars opened fire.
Fire was then returned from inside the house, killing one of the gunmen and injuring several other people
“We have videotape. We have officers on the scene observing it. At a bare minimum, the individuals who initiated the firefight must be prosecuted,” Lightfoot said.
Police pursued charges but the state’s attorney’s office declined based on mutual combat. Lightfoot urged Foxx to reconsider.
“We’ve gotta be able to explain to people on that block and across the city why it is when you have this kind of evidence, a videotape showing exactly what happened, why charges weren’t brought.” Lightfoot said.
Chicago aldermen are also questioning Foxx’s decision.
Chicago police Supt. David Brown spoke about the case during Monday’s city council budget hearing.
“We should pursue the charges that we have and let jurors and judges adjudicate justice,” Brown said.
Lightfoot says letting criminals walk free will have a detrimental impact on the city.
“If they don’t feel like the criminal justice system is going to hold them accountable, we’re going to see a level of brazenness that will send this city into chaos and we cannot let that happen,” she said.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office released the following statement:
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. It is unclear why she has chosen to make such statements, especially absent the full information that was presented to our office by CPD. 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. 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. 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.
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