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 the recent 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 every day.”
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.
A protest is scheduled for noon Saturday, with multiple organizations set to participate. According to a Facebook post, marchers intend to enter the Dan Ryan Expressway near 47th Street, and will march along the roadway.
It is unclear at this time how many protesters will participate in any demonstration, but more than 2,000 individuals have indicated they are “interested” in participating, according to the march’s Facebook page.