CHICAGO (CBS) — Two days after announcing her re-election bid via video, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is already racking up endorsements from powerful Democrats.
But they come after a year of controversy and questions about how she’s running the office and, in particular, the Jussie Smollett case.
CBS 2’s political investigator Dana Kozlov sat down with Foxx and asked about that case, and her relationship with key players in the city — including the Fraternal Order of Police, which has criticized Foxx and her handling of the Smollett case.
When asked why people should trust her, Foxx didn’t answer the question directly, at first. But for people who may point to the Smollett case as a reason to be skeptical of how she’s running the office — it’s an important one.
“In human terms, the work that our office does every day on behalf of people who have been victims of violent crime speaks for itself,” Foxx said.
Foxx has been under fire since March, after dropping charges against actor Smollett for staging his own hate crime attack. It drew the ire of the police union and City Hall.
“Do I think justice was served? No, I think this city is still owed an apology,” Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at the time.
In Foxx’s re-election video, she said she didn’t handle the Smollett case “well.”
“Listen, when I ran for this office in 2016, I said we were going to do things fundamentally different than we’ve done them before. We were going to focus on violent crime and in this particular case, we did this case like we’d done many others,” Foxx told CBS 2. “But the failure was that we didn’t communicate well. About how and why we were doing what we were doing. And that responsibility as an elected leader who is accountable to the public falls on me.”
Foxx also said in her video that she made changes in her office to ensure that that type of situation doesn’t happen again.
“Some of those changes have included us being more engaged with the communities that we serve around talking about how we handle low level non-violent offenses so that there’s a broader understanding of how we use our resources,” Foxx said.
When asked whether she owed anyone an apology, she said: “I take making an apology very seriously and I hear everything about the frustrations that people have had about this case.”
That was sort of a non-apology, apology, after first focusing on how she’s apologized to those who’ve been wrongfully convicted.
Foxx was also careful to stay on talking points such as her office’s increase in gun prosecutions, which often translated into indirect answers to Kozlov’s questions.
Despite the Smollett controversy, Foxx has the backing of Gov. JB Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, to name just a few, who share Foxx’s vision of prosecutorial reform. But that work requires a solid relationship with police.
Foxx said she and Johnson “have enjoyed a very good working relationship.”
Foxx went on to say the police union and officers she sees in court every day are very different from one another.
She says she has a good relationship with the officers.