Video: Chicago’s mayor and Cook County's State attorney battle each other as gangs get off with no charges in a West Side shootout. Our Spotlight Politics team weighs in on that and more. (Produced by Alex Silets)
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said she was “mortified” by what she called “not factually accurate” statements made Monday by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who questioned the lack of charges stemming from a deadly West Side shootout last week.
Foxx held a rare press conference Tuesday to respond to the mayor’s criticism, calling it “inappropriate” and “wrong” for Lightfoot to publicly push for criminal charges in the shooting “without the benefit of all of the evidence.”
“I was quite honestly mortified by what happened (Monday), particularly because the mayor is a former prosecutor (and) knows that what she did yesterday was inappropriate,” Foxx said.
The clash between the mayor and the county’s top prosecutor stems from a shootout that left one man dead and others injured in the Austin neighborhood last Friday.
At approximately 10:30 a.m., four people got out of two vehicles in the 1200 block of North Mason Avenue and shot into a home, while people inside also fired weapons at the cars, police said. The man who was killed was outside the home, while two people who were injured were inside the house, police said.
The confrontation was captured by city surveillance cameras and was witnessed by several Chicago police officers. Approximately 70 rounds of ammunition were fired, according to the mayor’s office.
Five suspects were arrested but no criminal charges were filed, prompting Lightfoot to call out Foxx during an unrelated press conference Monday.
“And I believe that there are charges that can be brought at a minimum against the individuals who initiated the gunfire,” Lightfoot said. “We can’t live in a world where there’s no accountability.”
But Foxx said Lightfoot’s claims about the available evidence in the case “simply weren’t true,” adding that Chicago Police Department Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan on Monday also stated the evidence in the case was insufficient to bring criminal charges “at that time.”
“We will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to ensure that the necessary work is done so that we may bring charges and ultimately secure a conviction for those who engage in violence that we have seen across the city,” Foxx said. “That is our mission.”
Beyond calling out the validity of Lightfoot’s comments, Foxx also said the mayor’s public statements could “pose potential issues” down the road in any criminal case that may come from Friday’s shooting.
Despite Foxx stating that her office does not discuss ongoing investigations, Lightfoot on Tuesday afternoon asked Foxx to “help us understand” how there were no charges filed, calling the decision "mind-boggling."
“I can’t explain it,” the mayor said. “We have to understand how it’s possible when this kind of shootout is captured on film, that there were no charges of any person, even though people were brought into custody and arrested.”
The mayor added that she has asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office to evaluate the evidence in this case to see if federal charges could be filed.
Lightfoot on Tuesday also said she had questions for Deenihan, stating: "If this happened in Beverly, this happened Mount Greenwood, this happened anywhere on the North Side, would there really be no clarity?"
Lightfoot and Foxx have sparred repeatedly in the past, with the mayor and Police Superintendent David Brown lamenting the number of “violent offenders” released from jail on electronic monitoring and criticizing Foxx’s charging decisions for some of those arrested amid last year’s unrest.
Foxx on Tuesday called for a meeting between all parties to put an “end to the finger pointing.”
“Our No. 1 concern should be about getting those people prosecuted,” she said. “Not a headline diverting attention away from the fact that we have not had a comprehensive plan for violence in the city of Chicago.”
Note: This story was originally published Oct. 5, it has been updated to include our “Chicago Tonight” discussion.
Heather Cherone contributed to this report.
Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson | [email protected] | (773) 509-5431