Rev. Jesse Jackson, along with some 20 of his supporters, convened a press conference at Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington Ave., the morning of April 1 to offer public support for embattled Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx.
The press conference came in response to a public protest in front of Foxx's offices at 69 W. Washington Ave. organized by the Fraternal Order of Police ( FOP ). That organization has been calling for Foxx's resignationto whom they've long been opposedsince the State's Attorney's Office announced that prosecutors were dropping all 16 of the charges against actor Jussie Smollett for allegedly falsifying a hate crime last January.
Foxx recused herself from the case, having had some contact with principals. Smollett ultimately had to forego the $10,000 he'd posted as bail and perform some community service, a resolution that angered both Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Leaked emails supposedly depicting damage control efforts in the State's Attorney's office escalated difficulties in that agency even further.
Jackson recited several of Foxx's accomplishments since stepping into her role in 2016, saying that he was registering public support because, "We seek justice today and fairness."
Jackson said that Chicago Police have seemed indifferent to many other problems throughout the City, and dismissed Johnson's public pronouncements: "When the Mayor gets upset, [Johnson] gets upset."
Activist Fr. Michael Pfleger added that the indignation over Foxx was "not about Jussie Smollett" but was, rather, about "trying to remove a person who is a threat to the Old Boys' system of power."
Activist Ja'Mal Greene asked, "When Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times, where were all these people on the street demanding justice?"
Several protestors against the FOP rally later gathered across the street in Daley Plaza, decrying racist acts they say CPD has committed.
Frank Chapman of Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression said that FOP "has been a defender and vindicator of police crimes and tyranny in this City. … They've backed up the police in the most heinous murders that have happened in this city, such as Laquan McDonald's. That's what this protest is about."
The FOP rally attracted hundreds. The organization maintains that the case against Smollett had merits, and that Foxx has needlessly dropped other convictions. They stated on their Facebook page March 30 that, "The CPD concluded, after an exhaustive investigation, that Mr. Smollett faked a hate crime. A grand jury returned a 16-count indictment. It is Ms. Foxx's duty to prosecute this crime. She refused to do so. Her refusal to do so has generated national condemnation by the public, elected officials, and even members of her own profession. Questions must be answered about Ms. Foxx's conduct in this case. We have asked for a federal investigation and are being told that one is underway. For this, we are very grateful."