Dear DOJ: Chicago U.S. attorney leaves letter on way out door


ByChuck Goudie and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Monday, March 13, 2017
Dear DOJ: Chicago U.S. attorney leaves letter
U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon, who resigned Monday, left a letter outlining challenges in Chicago and how to fix them.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The U.S. attorney in Chicago on Monday wrote two letters. First, Zachary Fardon penned a resignation letter. Then on the way out the door he handed out a five-page public letter that amounts to a roadmap of what's wrong in Chicago and how to fix it.

In the "open letter," that focuses on Chicago's unrelenting street violence and seemingly out-of-control murders, Fardon states that "this is not war" and he discourages the call to use National Guard troopers in the city. He is calling for more law enforcement officers.


"We need to flood those neighborhoods with local and federal law enforcement officers" wrote Fardon. "Not just to arrest the bad guys but also to be standing on that corner where shots otherwise might get fired, to be breaking up those corner loiterers, and to be meeting and learning and knowing the kids, the people, and the truth of who are the good guys, who are the bad guys, and who isn't yet formed and can be swayed."

His resignation comes a few days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked nearly four dozen prosecutors to resign. They were holdovers from President Barack Obama's administration.

Fardon, 50, has been Chicago's No. 1 federal law enforcement officer since 2013.

The interim federal prosecutor will be Joel Levin, who has served been the first assistant U.S. Attorney under Fardon the past several years. For the moment, Levin will inherit a federal agency that is desperately trying to help stop the murders and shootings in a gang-ridden city.

Fardon, in his going away letter, stated: "Some people recently have said bring in the National Guard. If you care only about the short view, maybe there's some attractiveness to that notion.

But if you care about the long view - if you don't want to be talking about "Chiraq" and "two Chicagos" ten and twenty years from now, then it's an ill-conceived notion. What would a National Guard presence say to folks in those neighborhoods? This is war, and you are the enemy. The Chicago of bike paths and glistening lakefront, and economic opportunity - that's not your Chicago, it's ours and we will protect it."

The ex-U.S. attorney has not immediately made himself available for interviews on his time in office or the letter, in which he states that the fight against violence "is not war. Wars are fought between enemies. There is only one enemy here, and it is us, all of us in Chicago. Every single one of us. We are the problem, and we are the solution. If we resort to wrongheaded measures, we might set ourselves back years, even decades in the long term fight."

Fardon also takes on what he seems to view as a debilitating role of social media on the city. "Biological viruses are transmitted through body fluid or air. The virus of gun play moves through social media. We can stop or stem that. Don't send in the National Guard, send in the tech geeks."

Acting U.S. Attorney Joel R. Levin.
U.S. Attorney's Office