Laquan McDonald case a central issue in Cook Co. state's attorney race

Thursday, January 7, 2016
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Three women are battling to gain traction against one another as they head into the March Democratic primary.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The race for Cook County state's attorney is heating up. Three women are battling to gain traction against one another as they head into the March Democratic primary.

As predicted here a few weeks ago, the incumbent state's attorney handling of the Laquan McDonald police shooting case is the centerpiece issue in the Democratic primary campaign.

"If the incumbent had the courage to have acted promptly on the video evidence in Laquan McDonald's death we would be at trial today," said Donna More, state's attorney candidate.

The one-time federal prosecutor says if she had been state's attorney in October, 2014, and seen the Laquan McDonald shooting on video, it would not have taken over 400 days to charge Officer Jason Van Dyke.

"I think that case should have been indicted in November of 2014," More said.

"It really is disheartening and kind of scary to think that she'd be able to wrap up an investigation in a couple of weeks," Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said.

Two-term incumbent Alvarez again defended her handling of the McDonald case, then questioned the independence of More, who in private practice represents the gaming industry.

"She's been representing casinos all these years and that is how she has raised her money," Alvarez said.

"I represented clients to keep them on the straight and narrow in regard to compliance," More said.

More has donated at least $250,000 to her campaign. High profile African-American defense attorney Sam Adam, Jr., chose to support More over the black candidate Kim Foxx.

"We don't need to look at this thing as black and white. That's the problem that we have. We've got to understand that we're in this together," Adam said.

Other More supporters questioned the independence of Foxx, who served two years as the chief of staff for Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle.

"The notion that Toni Preckwinkle is the only reason that I'm running for this office is a desperate attempt by someone to make themselves seem relevant," Foxx said.

"Toni Preckwinkle can't run the Cook County State's Attorney's office and she should never be allowed to run the Cook County State's Attorney's office," said Bob Milan, a More supporter.

"Neither one of my opponents have the experience or the integrity that I have to run this office and I will continue to do that," Alvarez said.

The Alvarez campaign reported Wednesday that it raised $400,000 during the last quarter of 2015.

Because candidate More donated $250,000 to herself, the campaign funding limits will not apply to what is already the marquee local race on March 15.