Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx defended her office's decision to drop 17 charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett and, alongside familiar Chicago community activists like Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), lashed out at her critics, at one point even suggesting her critics were "racist" and colluding with "white supremacists."
The Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago's largest police union, held a protest Friday, attracting dozens of Foxx's detractors who demanded Foxx resign from office after a series of prosecutorial errors and bad decisions, culminating with the decision to allow Smollett to walk free despite what police say is ample evidence that Smollett organized a "hate crime" hoax against himself.
Saturday, Jackson's Rainbow PUSH colition held a rally in support of Foxx. Speaking to a small crowd, Foxx defended her Smollett decision and implied that there were more sinister forces at work behind the collection of critics now questioning her fitness for office, according to Fox News.
"I have been asking myself for the last two weeks what is this really about," Foxx told the rally. "As someone who has lived in this city [Chicago], who came up in the projects of this city to serve as the first African American woman in this role, it is disheartening to me ... that when we get in these positions somehow the goalposts change."
"I'm committed to serving my term and should the people have me continuing forward," she added. "I stand with our partners in law enforcement every day. I have never, will never speak ill of our partners in this work."
She, in fact, did not. But other speakers at her rally were less guarded.
Longtime Congressman Bobby Rush, who represents chunks of Chicago's south side told the gathered crowd that “[t]he FOP is the sworn enemy of black people,” and that attacks on Foxx are racist, despite the police department being led by a black man, Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who has been among the most vocal Foxx critics.
Rush also claimed that the Cook County State's Attorney's office is itself a "historically racist" institution, and that Chicagoans cannot abide the post being held by a woman of color, even though the previous state's attorney was a hispanic woman.
Another speaker "community activist" Ja'Mal Green went even deeper with his criticism, calling a collection of suburban Cook County police chiefs who, Friday, sent an open letter to Foxx expressing "no confidence" in her leadership of the state's attorney's office that serves their jurisdictions, the "blue Klux Klan."
A Chicago Sun-Times reporter captured the exchange.
Community activist Ja'Mal Green says the Chicago FOP and the group of all white suburban police chiefs looked like the "Blue Klux Klan" when they held a press conference Thursday attacking Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx over the Jussie Smollett case. pic.twitter.com/Lxm3TWGMmx— Nader Issa (@NaderDIssa) April 6, 2019
Fox News reporter Matt Finn followed up on the comment, asking Foxx directly if she agreed with Green's assessment that local police chiefs are, in fact, a group of abject racists. Foxx said nothing.
A rally in support of Kim Foxx just happened in which at least one speaker flat out called the FOP racist “blue klux klan.” Foxx did not object to that and carried on with her speech. After her extemely short presser I asked if she agrees that all police are racist: pic.twitter.com/kqM4G8hAze— Matt Finn (@MattFinnFNC) April 6, 2019
She did, however, add that the "racial issue" was injected by "white supremacists" who appeared at the Friday rally.
Kim Foxx did not answer my question about her office flip flopping on likelihood of Smollett conviction but she did address the race issue, saying it was injected by “white nationalists” that showed up to the FOP rally against her this week: pic.twitter.com/fMWgoLtZgN— Matt Finn (@MattFinnFNC) April 6, 2019
Pictures taken at the rally supposedly depict a handful of "Proud Boys" and members of the "American Guard," according to Finn and Fox News, but only an amateur photographer -- self-described member of Antifa -- reported the presence of both groups on Twitter. The activist also claims to have noticed a "known white supremacist" in the crowd.
The "Proud Boys" say they do not allow white nationalists or white supremacists membership in their group.
The rally, also, had dozens of attendees, and the Fraternal Order of Police, when asked about the presence of possible white nationalists at the rally, by public radio station WBEZ, was reportedly confused and said they did not know who the referenced groups were.
It's not clear — and unlikely — that any white supremacists took an active role in organizing the rally.
Despite Foxx's claims, her critics have come from both sides of the political aisle and are not limited to the Fraternal Order of Police or suburban police chiefs. Last week, Retired Illinois Appellate Justice Sheila O'Brien penned an editorial for the Chicago Tribune calling on the courts to appoint a special investigator to delve into Foxx's handling not only of Smollett's case, but of several cases which Foxx's office allowed violent offenders to skate off with lenient sentences.
Over the weekend, left-leaning Tribune columnist Eric Zorn also called on Foxx to admit her errors, signaling that even reliable Democrats within Chicago may be tiring of Foxx's excuses. Incoming Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, herself a black woman, echoed outgoing mayor Rahm Emanuel's criticism of Foxx, and suggested that the city should get to the bottom of the Smollett decision and that Foxx should be willing to answer questions.
Last week, Foxx said that she would submit to an independent investigation. It's not immediately clear if her opinion on the matter has changed.