CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara issued a letter to U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr. Wednesday, calling for federal prosecutions for people arrested in looting during civil unrest.
In the letter, which the FOP said would be hand-delivered Thursday morning, Catanzara accused Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx of failing to take action against such defendants at the state level.
Catanzara noted that Chicago Police officers who belong to the FOP were on the front lines during civil unrest and looting back in late May, as well as early this past Monday morning.
“Our members were subject to threats both verbally and physically, were battered with all types of bricks and rocks and stood the line to help protect the citizens and their property,” Catanzara wrote. “Our offices did this with the understanding that the looters and criminals would be prosecuted and held to account for their actions. It appears that this is not going to happen.”
Referencing an attached announcement, Catanzara wrote Foxx “very plainly and without explanations has decreed that her office has instituted a ‘presumption of dismissal’ for a host of charges. She makes this proclamation under some arbitrary theory that the offenders were protestors and somehow had the right to commit crimes due the unfortunate death of George Floyd in Minnesota.”
Catanzara said officers did not arrest peaceful protesters, only looters and violent criminals.
“As President Trump has said, these individuals were simply criminals and domestic terrorists,” he wrote.
Catanzara wrote that it is “time for the State’s Attorney of Cook County to do her job, or if she refuses, the United States Attorney’s Office to step in.”
He also claimed that Foxz “showed little to no interest in prosecuting” those involved in the looting downtown, on the Magnificent Mile, and in some other areas early Monday morning. Further, Catanzara said a protest scheduled for this weekend on the Dan Ryan Expressway was also sure to lead to civil unrest and violence, and the State’s Attorney’s office again would not prosecute those involved to the fullest extent of the law.
“The violence is not going to stop until we have a willingness by the prosecutors to do their job,” he wrote.
Following the looting on Monday, Foxx said she was upset with what she saw, and that her office has worked to prosecute violent offenders. She didn’t have an answer as to what happened.
“I, like many people, are heartbroken angry confused as to how we find ourselves here,” Foxx said Monday. “And the reality is is that as we seek to figure out what is happening and what is truly an unprecedented summer, it requires us to ask tough questions to do deep deliberation, and to put all hands on deck. All hands on deck means that rather than standing and pointing fingers. We work together.”
Foxx referenced the pandemic and economic despair throughout the city. She added that her office has seen a drop in violent crime in recent years, but said this year is different.
“The number one referred prosecution in our office in 2016, the year of 700-plus homicides and 4,000 people shot was drugs and retail theft. And so we’ve worked over the last four years to address that,” Foxx said. I’ll remind you that 2017 violent crime homicide shootings dropped, 2018 violent crime homicides shootings dropped, 2019 homicides violent shootings dropped. And here we are again in 2020, a year, unlike any other.”
Earlier that day, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said the people involved in the looting did not seem to be worried about any consequences/
Lightfoot called on prosecutors to deliver a strong message to the criminals that there will be consequences. But when asked if that was criticism directed at Foxx, the mayor’s response was “don’t bait us.”