The sacking of Chicago’s North Side was more than a tactical failure. For months, key officials—the state’s attorney responsible for prosecution, the mayor, and the governor—have failed to condemn criminals sufficiently or act with necessary force against such violence. They have contributed to a culture of impunity that tolerates mobs and hoodlums.
Kim Foxx, the state’s attorney for Cook County, has already become nationally notorious for refusing to prosecute Jussie Smollett, the actor who lied to the police that he was a victim of racial violence. But her offenses against public order are far worse than her condoning of a provocateur who tried to fracture the city with a falsehood. Foxx has dismissed felony cases brought by the police at a rate 35 percent higher than her predecessor. She raised the threshold for felony shoplifting from $300 to $1,000—and as a result, thieves steal brazenly in broad daylight as well as under cover of darkness. Chicago police chief David Brown suggested that Foxx’s failure to prosecute looters from the previous sacking of the city in June was partly responsible for emboldening the current round of looting.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot is also responsible. She has hardly been enforcing a zero-tolerance policy against lawless mobs. When crowds assaulted statues of Christopher Columbus, she did not defend these public monuments, instead removing them under pressure in the dead of night. The message was clear: Chicago would not defend its civic order. Lightfoot did denounce the current round of looting, but she still felt the need to make distinctions between these looters and those who had rioted in the wake of the George Floyd killing, as if there were degrees of culpability in the intentional taking of others’ property. Contrast her uncertain tones in calling vandals to account with her schoolmarmish insistence on closing parks to protect against the coronavirus, when epidemiologists agree that the greatest risk comes from indoor activity.
Somebody has noticed Foxx’s role at least: (Photo) Sign on Chicago’s Mag Mile Luxury Retailer Michael Kors: ‘Kim Foxx Enabled This Chaos Vote Her Out in November.’