Despite Possible History of Ominous Threats, Prosecutors Refuse Felony Charges
Even though a man arrested last week for making threats on social media to attack police officers and burn the offices of Chicago aldermen may have a history of making such threats, prosecutors still refused felony charges against him.
Last week, Matthew Ross made threats that if a former Chicago Police officer was not convicted of murder in a high-profile trial, the wives and kids of the officers in neighborhoods with a large population of police officers would be attacked. He also threatened that “every alderman’s office should be burned to the ground.”
Detectives were contacted about the threats. They arrested Ross and attempted to have felony charges approved, but prosecutors under Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx refused. Ross was charged with two misdemeanors and released on bond.
In response to the refusal by prosecutors, FOP second vice president, Martin Preib, who was a complainant in the case against Ross, sent a letter to federal prosecutors asking that they review the case and consider charging him.
“By refusing felony charges, we believe the local prosecutor, Kimberly Foxx, is refusing to protect the members of our Lodge and has a history of doing so. We also believe that threats of this nature should be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that federal authorities should be aware of them. I am therefore asking you to initiate your own investigation into these allegations and consider charges,” Preib wrote.
But it may not the first time Ross has made such disturbing threats. In June 2016, a man named Ross also allegedly made the following threats against a Chicago Police officer who had been injured when she was dragged underneath a car during a traffic stop: “Find out where she lives, kidnap and torture her loved ones.”
The threats came after CBS reporter Dave Savini ran several “hit piece” stories on Officer Michelle Murphy, claiming she was at fault in the traffic stop, despite Murphy being dragged under the car and being hospitalized.
That case recently settled days before trial, when top city attorney Ed Siskel’s administratiion decided not to go to trial . . . without even asking Murphy about the decision.
In one of his stories on Murphy, Savini broadcast Murphy’s license plates. After heated complaints, the news station edited them out. After seeing the threats on social media, Murphy filed a police report.
Questions emerge: In refusing felony charges for the threats last week, did prosecutors even bother to look at the possible history of complaints against Ross? If they did, why didn’t they approve charges?
Foxx’s refusal to approve felony charges in this case and others has generated condemnation by the FOP and its attorneys. Recently, FOP attorneys sent a letter to Foxx accusing her administration of not protecting the rights of police officers who have been injured on the job.
The letter came in response to an officer who was bitten by an offender last year and had to undergo treatment for possible HIV infection. Prosecutors under Foxx pled that case down to a misdemeanor without even notifying the officer.
FOP attorney Jim Thompson argued that such decisions violate the rights of officers as crime victims.
“Police officers can be victims too and deserve the right to be heard as all other victims. . . . They did not sign up to be battered, bit and then dismissed as this is just ‘part of the job,’ ” Thompson wrote. “The failure by the Cook County State’s Attorney to recognize this only deepens the mistrust that our members have in the prosecution of their cases. I would ask that you remind Miss Foxx and all your assistants that the above-cited act also applies to police officers.”