Anita Alvarez Is Leading in the Polls? Is Anybody Paying Attention?

Feb 6, 2016


Anita Alvarez Is Leading in the Polls?
Is Anybody Paying Attention

Steve Craig, Neighborhood Coordinator, CAARPR PDF

Anita Alvarez is leading in the race for Cook County State’s Attorney, according to the recently released Tribune poll. This news is both shocking and incredible in light of the fact that she has been exposed over and over again as a charlatan and an enemy of the people. How can she possibly still be in the race? How can she even possibly still be in office? The answer is out there in black and white.

Her complicity in the cover-up of police crime was revealed to the world with the release of the video of Laquan McDonald’s murder, a release she and co-conspirator Rahm Emanuel vehemently resisted. Everyone, both in and out of government, pointed the finger at the CPD, IPRA, the Mayor’s office and the State’s Attorney’s office. More police shooting videos miraculously followed, in spite of Alvarez’s best efforts to keep them hidden, including the video of the police killing of Ronald Johnson. Alvarez even provided narration to accompany the Ronnieman video at a dog and pony show where she identified a shadow as proof that he had a gun, thereby justifying his murder. The Empress also has new clothes? She was playing to an audience already assuming he was armed and dangerous. Aren’t all black people? Anita Alvarez is counting on this racist fear mongering to carry her to reelection.

Anita Alvarez’s decades-long career as a prosecutor and State’s Attorney has been characterized by the zealous persecution of African American and Latino suspects and victims of police crimes and frame-ups. The goals of her office are prosecution, incarceration, and “winning” the case, justice be damned. When the injustice of trumped-up charges is exposed in case after case she fights, tooth and claw, to keep innocents in prison. There is no place for exoneration in her model of justice.

In a 2012 Sixty Minutes interview she notoriously refused to admit that the Dixmoor 5 had been wrongfully imprisoned on false confessions, even after they were exonerated by DNA evidence. The five black teens spent a collective 80 years behind bars for a crime they did not commit. In the same interview, Alvarez concocted a bizarre necrophilia theory in the Nina Glover rape and murder case and objected to the ordered release of the men who were also victimized by the same Chicago-style forced confessions. The interview was a public relations nightmare but, alas, not a career ender.

The Alvarez style of justice is not, however, equally applied. When it comes to investigating or prosecuting police crimes, she falls over herself to kowtow to the official police story. Cops are literally getting away with murder and torture while their victims and witnesses suffer the consequences. Alvarez did not investigate or prosecute the infamous Burge midnight crew or look into the torture allegations of the Death Row 10 in the 90’s even though she was empowered to do so as the supervisor of the Public Integrity Unit. Even today her office has been resisting reopening the cases of many police torture victims who continue to languish in prison. When she reluctantly went after Dante Servin, Rekia Boyd’s killer, and only under intense public pressure from activists, her office conveniently botched the case. The judge admonished the prosecution, saying Servin had been undercharged, and let him walk.

The families of victims and survivors of police crimes are wise to Alvarez. Ask the families of Flint Farmer, Cedrick Chatman, Quintonio LeGrier, Jamal Moore, Calvin Cross, Ricky Childs and countless others. Ask the arrestees held incommunicado at Homan Square. Ask the prisoners still incarcerated decades after convictions based on false confessions to escape torture. Ask the NATO 5, indicted on ludicrous terrorism charges after an undercover police set-up. Ask Jay Chase, the lone NATO 5 defendant still in prison, denied health care and facing a much longer sentence due to Alvarez’s pressing of charges relating to Chase’s reactions to abusive prison guards. They will all answer that it’s time to put an end to the Alvarez regime.

The people of Chicago’s oppressed African American and Latino communities want real justice. While they know that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office has never been a champion of justice for the people regardless of who has held the office, they know they have zero chance of relief under Alvarez. The people of these communities are in the early stages of organizing for direct democratic control over the Chicago police, for the creation of an all elected Civilian Police Accountability Council. Then the people themselves can determine how their communities are policed and how and when the police are held accountable without relying on the mirage that passes for police oversight today or relying on the whims of the State’s Attorney. Until the people have that power, we are still at the mercy of whoever holds the office. It is crucial that that person not be Anita Alvarez.

The vast majority of the County’s black voters are ready to vote Alvarez out. But, what of the white voters? They only need to open their eyes and their hearts to the racist injustice before them. James Baldwin famously exposed the racist ruse that characterized America in 1970, an indictment that still holds true today, when he wrote to an imprisoned Angela Davis:

One might have hoped that, by this hour, the very sight of chains on Black flesh, or the very sight of chains, would be so intolerable a sight for the American people, and so unbearable a memory, that they would themselves spontaneously rise up and strike off the manacles. But, no, they appear to glory in their chains; now, more than ever, they appear to measure their safety in chains and corpses.

We can all count the shots fired, 16, and the months of cover-up, 13. When it’s time to count the votes in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s race, let’s defeat Anita Alvarez, all of us, in unity – Black, Brown and White. Baldwin summed it up:

For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.

Excerpts from: An Open Letter to My Sister, Angela Y. Davis