Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx released her transition report Monday, outlining her intent to seek the appointment of special prosecutors to investigate police-involved shootings.
In an exclusive interview with NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern, Foxx conceded that she still has some unanswered questions about those sorts of appointments.
“Can we unilaterally ask for a special prosecutor?” Foxx asked. “Do we have to ask a judge for a special prosecutor? Do you have to go down to Springfield to make this happen?”
Foxx, who was sworn in as Cook County’s first black, female state’s attorney last week, also admitted that hiring special prosecutors may prove to be an expensive process.
“While cost is a factor, I think we have paid a higher cost in the credibility of our criminal justice system — the fact that the neighborhoods that need us the most trust us the least,” she said.
Foxx also claimed the county was “shaken” by the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. The 17-year-old was shot and killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. Van Dyke was not charged with the murder until November 2015, the same day that dash-cam footage of the incident was made public.
Foxx ultimately beat her predecessor, Anita Alvarez, in the March Democratic primary. Alvarez was widely criticized for her handling of the case, an issue that largely defined the race.
Foxx’s ambitious transition report also promises internal audits and the hiring of a diversity officer. Additionally, the state’s attorney plans to bring on an ethics officer.
“We’re bringing on someone who comes from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who's handled these kinds of investigations and cases before,” Foxx said.
“There are some who may not believe in the vision I have for the office when I talk about transparency and ethics, when I talk about the need for us to engage more,” she added.
Foxx will begin meeting with department heads this week. During Monday’s interview, she noted that those who don’t share her vision for the future may no longer want to stay. Foxx said she plans to shake up the office, which is comprised of 850 attorneys and other staff.
“In the closing days of the last administration, there were only two African-American men in positions of leadership,” Foxx said. “Lawyers, out of an office of 850 lawyers, there were only two."