CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Chicago’s top prosecutor defended her policy of prioritizing resources away from low-level offenses after records revealed the man suspected of killing Officer Ella French was on probation.
“It’s tragic,” Kim Foxx said on “On Balance with Leland Vittert.” “It’s tragic for her family. It is tragic for our city. But what we can’t do is try to go back and pretend that we have a crystal ball and can see how something like this would happen.”
Emonte Morgan was on probation in Cook County for robbery, according to NewsNation affiliate WGN. He was previously charged with minor traffic offenses, including leaving the scene, operating a vehicle without a license and driving uninsured. He was also charged with battery and theft in 2019.
“This was someone who didn’t have a criminal background, who was 19 years old, I believe, at the time, and the nature of the offense allowed for him to be probationable,” said Foxx.
According to the Cook County State’s Attorney website, Foxx “has taken the lead on prioritizing resources away from low-level offenses to focus on violent crime.”
“There are thousands of people who are on probation every single year,” Foxx said. “What we saw with Ella French was tragic, but for the thousands of others who are on probation who do not pick up a gun, who do not kill in cold blood, to suggest that probation is not the answer I think is a bit short-sighted.”
“Ella French died trying to protect the very neighborhoods that Kim Foxx has littered with criminals because she feels it’s the right human thing to do,” said John Catanzara, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.
Foxx has clashed with Catanzara before.
“I don’t think many people take him seriously,” Foxx said.
He also joined “On Balance” to respond to Foxx’s interview.
“Kim Foxx has never tried a murder case,” Catanzara said. “She wouldn’t even know the inside of a courtroom if she fell into it. She’s just a political hack, who literally uses race to get reelected. She has no competency.”
See Catanzara’s full interview in the player below.
Another issue Foxx has often discussed is illegal guns coming into the city.
On Wednesday, WGN reported the Indiana man who purchased the gun that killed French was released on a $4,500 bond in federal court.
“What I read was that the judge said, given the fact that this man did not have a [criminal] background and the nature of the offense, he was entitled to a bail that he could afford,” Foxx said.
Foxx made it clear that a Cook County judge did not make that determination.
She also defended her office amid a wave of violence in the city.
“I came into office in 2016, which was an incredibly violent year in Chicago, the most violent we’ve seen in 20 years,” she said. “And in 2017, 2018 and 2019, those violent crime numbers went down, homicides went down.”
From 2019 to 2020, homicides were up 50%.
“We’re in a global pandemic, unlike anything we’ve seen in any of our lifetimes, which led to a terrible economic downturn, people being confined to their homes,” Foxx said. “The issues related to gun violence are connected to economic disinvestment, are connected to poverty, are connected to a lack of access to educational resources.”
Foxx also stressed the importance of trust between law enforcement and the community.
“I need them to be credible and legitimate,” Foxx said.
Catanzara says the way forward is through upcoming statewide and municipal elections.
“We are coming for these politicians and taking their seats and getting some civility and sanity back to civilized society,” Catanzara said.
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