Chicago violence: Kim Foxx calls Mayor Lightfoot comments on shooting case 'wrong'

Comments follow decision to reject charges in deadly Austin shooting
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx called statements made by Mayor Lori Lightfoot about the handling of a deadly shooting case "inappropriate" and "wrong."

Foxx said that as a prosecutor, she does not try cases in the media.

"That's because as prosecutors, we recognize that our words as they go out can be used whether be defense counsels or jurors in making a determination in the believability of our evidence," Foxx said.

The announcement comes amid criticism of Foxx's office for after the decision by prosecutors to reject charges in a deadly gang-related shooting in the Austin neighborhood last week.

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Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx defended her office following comments made by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.



Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke Monday and called on Foxx to reverse her office's decision on the case.

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"If they do not feel like the criminal justice system is going to hold them accountable, we're going to see a level of brazenness that will send the city into chaos and we cannot let that happen," the mayor said Monday.

Foxx said there was not enough evidence to support felony charges, and police said the people arrested refused to tell them anything. But Lightfoot, herself a former prosecutor, believes there's evidence to make a case.

"I think that there's evidence there. We've got videotape, we have a marked squad of uniformed officers who were on the scene observing it," she said. "At a bare minimum, the individuals who initiated the firefight must be prosecuted."

Speaking on Tuesday, Foxx defended the decision by her office after the mayor's comments and said some of her statements were not correct.

"It was inappropriate," Foxx said. "It was wrong. As a prosecutor who understands the oath and as a former prosecutor discussing the facts of this case does in the press without the benefit of all of the evidence does a disservice to the communities who have been impacted by this violence. Our job is not simply to make an arrest but also to get a conviction. In an effort to get a conviction, we must make sure that the evidence is held in the highest integrity."

During a budget meeting with aldermen Monday, police acknowledged that, despite being caught on a city POD camera, the shooting was between what are being called "mutual combatants" and that it's hard to discern who fired first and who might have been acting in self-defense.

Foxx noted that even First Deputy Superintendent Brendan Deenihan testified before the city council expressing concerns about the evidence.

"The cameras captured the incident, but not enough to put a gun in someone's hand and not enough to charge someone in the incident," Deenihan said.

At her press conference Tuesday, Foxx called for a meeting between herself, the mayor and police officials at Area Five, whom she accused of mishandling high-profile investigations in recent weeks, and then leaking information that would make her office look bad.

"At the end of the day, the statements that were made yesterday, that were not factually accurate, should this case be ready for charging, it may pose potential issues," Foxx said. "Nobody wants that. Not for a political stunt."

"The question I'm gonna have for him when I see him shortly, candidly, is... if this happened in Beverly, if this happened in Mt. Greenwood, if this happened anywhere on the North Side would there really be no clarity?" Lightfoot said.

Foxx left open the possibility of bringing charges if police gather new evidence. The mayor said she is pushing detectives to get what's needed to hold the shooters accountable.

Mayor Lightfoot also said Tuesday that she will ask federal prosecutors to review the case to see if they might be able to make a case, adding violent offenders must be held accountable.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report
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