Progress Illinois provides coverage from Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's speech Wednesday morning at the City Club of Chicago. Anti-Alvarez protesters demonstrated outside the event, briefly blocking the entrances while chanting, "16 shots and a cover up!"
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez says her most prominent challenger Kim Foxx showed a "lack of decency" by using some footage of the now-infamous Laquan McDonald shooting video in a new TV campaign ad.
"It is a lack of decency that someone is trying to ... gain cheap political points on a death of a young man in the video that shows someone being shot. I don't find that to be decent. I think it's appalling," Alvarez told reporters Wednesday morning after delivering a speech at the City Club of Chicago.
Alvarez is under fire for her handling of several law enforcement cases, including the shooting of 17-year-old McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. She is being challenged by Foxx and Donna More in the March 15 Democratic primary.
The new Foxx campaign ad opens with police dash-cam video footage of McDonald walking down the middle of the street as two officers emerge from their vehicles with their guns drawn. The ad, which does not show the actual shooting of McDonald, later cuts away to an image of Alvarez.
Take a look:
"When State's Attorney Anita Alvarez did nothing about this murder, she proved our justice system is broken," the narrator says. "Kim Foxx is the only candidate who has what it takes to fix it."
During her City Club of Chicago speech, Alvarez defended her record and pushed back on Foxx's attack.
"Miss Foxx claims that I did nothing in this case for 400 days. That is simply not the truth," Alvarez said, calling the accusation a "bold-faced lie."
"I did the opposite of nothing. I did everything that I was expected to do as a prosecutor and I should do as a prosecutor," she added. "I enlisted the resources of the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office to develop the best possible case against officer Van Dyke."
The Foxx campaign provided a statement Wednesday about the ad.
"We want to make sure Cook County voters know what is at stake, and Anita Alvarez failed to take action for 400 days after the murder of Laquan McDonald, which demonstrates her lack of judgement," said Foxx campaign spokesman Robert Foley.
Alvarez, meanwhile, used her speech to blast Foxx, saying that she "lied about her legal experience" and violated campaign finance laws.
Foxx is a former Cook County assistant state's attorney. She previously served as Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's chief of staff.
Last week, the state elections board found Foxx in violation of campaign finance laws for failing to report a $25,000 poll paid for by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. The Foxx campaign has since amended its finance reports to include the contribution for the poll, which was taken before Foxx was a declared candidate.
Regarding her legal experience, Foxx recently walked back past comments in which she said she "tried literally hundreds" of felony cases. Foxx now says the total is about 100 cases.
"I don't think I was being unclear. I was talking about the breadth of the work that we do," Foxx told the Chicago Tribune, referring to her initial statements. "It means pre-trial work, it means evidentiary hearings. You go to court and you argue before a judge."
#ByeAnita Protesters Disrupt Event
Before Alvarez delivered remarks to the City Club of Chicago, about a dozen black youth organizers from BYP 100, Assata's Daughters and Chicago's arm of the Black Lives Matter movement protested outside the event, held at Maggiano's Little Italy Banquet Hall at 111 W. Grand Ave.
Activists chanted, "16 shots and a cover up!" as they attempted to block people from entering the restaurant.
Group members passed out flyers that read "Anita Alvarez has Laquan McDonald's blood on her hands" and "Vote against Anita March 15." Protesters wrote #ByeAnita and #16shots on the sidewalk with chalk.
"Anita Alvarez covered up a murder of a young black man," protester Veronica Morris-Moore told Progress Illinois. "Anita Alvarez does not believe that black lives matter, and the people will not forget that."
Police arrived on the scene and protesters eventually disbanded.
Check out scenes from the demonstration:
Wednesday's protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations targeting Alvarez ahead of next month's primary election. Last week, protesters disrupted an event with Alvarez at the University of Chicago, forcing it to end early.
Alvarez mentioned the protesters at the top of her speech.
"Sorry I was a little late. It was a little hard getting in the front door here," she told the crowd. "I see the same group of people. I've gotten to know them. As a mother, I hope maybe we can give 'em some to go bags to make sure that they eat today."
Information On Police-Involved Shooting Cases
As controversy continues to rage over police-involved shootings, both locally and nationally, Alvarez announced that she intends to begin posting information on her office's website about the status of such cases in Cook County within the next month. The website of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office will also include information on the "legal standards that we use in our analysis of" police-involved shootings cases, she said.
"The public wants to know what's going on with these cases," Alvarez said.
Alvarez's City Club of Chicago remarks come on the heels of Foxx earning endorsements this week from the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Teachers Union and U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL,5), who announced his support for Foxx earlier this morning.
"The state's attorney's office is in desperate need of reform, and I'm confident that Kim Foxx has the professional credentials, judgment, and life experience necessary to get the job done right," Quigley said in a statement. "After decades of experience with the criminal justice system and Cook County government myself, I believe that transparency and a willingness to make the hard choices to reform government are critical traits to make change. Kim has demonstrated to me she believes in both. She has led criminal and juvenile justice reform efforts at a countywide level and has the legal and management experience needed to move the state's attorney's office in a better direction."
Alvarez brushed off the endorsements picked up by Foxx.
"I don't put a lot of weight into those endorsements, because obviously the only endorsement that I want is the endorsement of the voters of Cook County," Alvarez said.
More, a former state and federal prosecutor, is also vying to unseat Alvarez in the Democratic primary. More earned endorsements last week from some family members of gun violence victims, including Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, Emmett Farmer and Alice Norris.
Candidates' Forum Tonight
Alvarez, Foxx and More are expected to attend a Cook County State's Attorney candidates forum Wednesday night at the Illinois Institute of Technology's Chicago-Kent College of Law. The event, which is free and open to the public, starts at 6 p.m. tonight.
CAN TV plans to provide live coverage of the event, co-sponsored by the "Rape Victim Advocates, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network, Chicago Foundation for Women, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, the Center on Halsted, Chicago Kent College of Law and the Criminal Law Society at Chicago Kent," according to an announcement.
Find the event details here.