Race for Cook County State’s Attorney
David Szydloski, Stop Police Crimes, CAARPR
Last week, both of Chicago’s major newspapers, the Tribune and the Sun-Times, endorsed Kim Foxx, former chief of staff to Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, in her race to unseat incumbent Cook County State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez, in the upcoming March 15th primary. These endorsements are welcome additions to the campaign to unseat Alvarez—even if they came from the same conservative-leaning editorial boards that, just a year earlier, endorsed both Rahm Emanuel for mayor and Bruce Rauner for governor.
The Tribune editorial board’s criticism of Alvarez in their endorsement of Foxx provides a clear view of why the political leadership in Chicago continues to block real democratic reforms of the city’s government. The Tribune article begins by assuring readers that it doesn’t regret its previous two endorsements of Alvarez, “[n]or have we joined the more recent chorus arguing that Alvarez’s handling of the Laquan McDonald case disqualifies her from office.” Rather, the article makes clear that they see Alvarez’s chief failure to be a lack of critical self-reflection: “Yes, it’s easy for her critics to pounce now, knowing the things we all know. But Alvarez has the benefit of that hindsight, too, and she isn’t using this campaign to demand the fixes. She sounds to us as if, presented with the same facts, she might make the same judgments again.” There is no mention here of the Dixmoor 5, the city’s fight to keep a lid on the Laquan McDonald murder video, the intentional undercharging of Detective Dante Servin with involuntary manslaughter, and the refusal to charge the killer cop Gildardo Sierra who murdered Flint Farmer and Darius Pinex. There are countless other police killing, torture, wrongful conviction and sexual abuse cases that Alvarez has covered up, refused to prosecute–in our current racist system of police impunity, police crimes are supported and nurtured by Alvarez.
Anita Alvarez’s problem, this city’s problem, is that real accountability cannot exist within undemocratic institutions. Although having someone besides Alvarez in the State’s Attorney’s Office could be a step forward, only an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council can give the people of Chicago the justice they deserve.