State's Attorney Foxx Denies Rights To Injured Officers?
Yet Another Sellout to Anti-Police Law Firm?
Attorneys for the Fraternal Order of Police are accusing Cook County prosecutors of failing to provide Chicago Police officers with equal protection under the law.
In a letter to First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats, FOP attorney James Thompson assailed prosecutors for denying input of police officers in prosecutions in which officers have been injured. The prosecutors may be violating state law in doing so, the attorney alleges in the letter.
The letter, authorized by FOP Field Reps Bob Bartlett and Martin Preib and President Kevin Graham, taps into a sentiment among FOP members that the Cook County State’s Attorney administration under Kimberly Foxx cares more about criminals and their attorneys than police officers.
The letter specifically addresses an incident in August of last year in which an officer was bit in the leg during a downtown demonstration called “Slut Walk.” The demonstrator, Lee Dewey, was accused of biting the officer. Dewey was charged with Aggravated Battery of a Police Officer, a felony.
Because of the bite, the officer was out of work for six weeks and ordered by doctors to take a concoction of medicines to prevent the possibility of an AIDS infection. The officer spent his time off simmering in anxiety.
But a plea agreement was apparently worked out between prosecutors and Dewey. His charge was reduced to a municipal code violation: unlawful assembly.
The decision was made without the knowledge of the officer, the FOP claims in its letter. The officer stated he would never have approved of such a reduction in the charge.
The failure of prosecutors to inform the officer and allow him input in the process violates the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Action (725 ILCS 120/1), Thompson alleges in the letter.
“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.”
The failure of the Cook County State’s Attorney to protect officers is a recurring complaint among FOP members.
Indeed, the attorney representing Dewey was Joey Mogul from the People’s Law Office, a firm specializing in suing police officers over misconduct allegations. The law firm was formed in the 1970s to defend members of the Black Panthers. From their website:
Peoples Law Office was founded in August of 1969, and lawyers from the office began representing numerous members of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP)…
Along with the Black Panthers, the law firm has represented members of the FALN terrorist group. From the PLO website:
Today, lawyers at People’s Law Office serve as legal counsel in the international campaign to free Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, one the longest held political prisoners in the U.S. These same attorneys have worked for decades with international movements struggling for the release of Puerto Rican independentistas, successfully achieving Presidential pardons in 1979 and 1999. More recently, People’s Law Office represented independentista Carlos Alberto Torres, achieving his release on parole in 2010, after spending thirty years in prison.
They also represented youths accused of making Molotov cocktails to be thrown at police officers during the NATO demonstrations. From their website:
People’s Law Office and other attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild continue to defend the three activists against these trumped-up, politically motivated charges. People’s Law Office is involved in this case as part of a long-standing commitment to defend activists who the government seeks to discredit by labeling them as “terrorists.” To read more about our work defending dissent, visit the Political Repression and Free Speech pages on this site.
Members of the law firm also worked closely with members of the Weather Underground, an organization that advocated violent revolution during the 1970s, according to Larry Grothwohl, who infiltrated the group in the 1970s.
This résumé alone should compel prosecutors to be stricter in plea negotiations. One recent case adds to that sentiment.
PLO attorney Mogul recently represented a woman in a landmark federal civil lawsuit in which the woman, Nicole Harris, was exonerated for the 2005 killing of her own child. Mogul and a second law firm specializing in wrongful convictions claimed eight detectives conspired to frame Harris for murdering her child.
To the shock of detectives, prosecutors declined to retry the case after it was tossed out in 2013 on legal technicalities. The detectives mounted a furious campaign to fight the ensuing civil lawsuit filed against them alleging they framed Harris.
They got their trial in 2017. The attorney representing the officers did not simply argue they did nothing wrong. He argued that Harris was guilty, despite her exoneration.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
But Andy Hale, a lawyer for the eight officers listed as defendants in Harris’ lawsuit, described Harris’ story as “lie after lie after lie.” He also criticized Harris for not attending every day of the trial and for showing no emotion throughout the proceedings.
“Did she shed a tear?” Hale said. “I didn’t notice one.”
The verdict was a stunning blow to Mogul that begged a question: Why is Harris walking about free? Was a child killer set free?
No one in Foxx’s administration seems willing to ask these questions. Nevertheless, in light of this case and others, why are prosecutors making deals with Mogul in a case in which the bite of a police officer meant six weeks of medications and the dread of possibly being infected with HIV? Why would that be pled down to a misdemeanor?
There are other cases that point to a too-cozy relationship between Foxx’s administration and law firms who attack the police. Consider this gem. Foxx also reversed course from her predecessor, Anita Alvarez, and released two men, Gabriel Solache and Arturo Reyes, from prison sentences for the 1998 double murder of a couple and the kidnapping of their children. The men were illegal aliens at the time of the murder. In a bizarre and highly suspicious statement, Foxx’s prosecutors admitted that though they were releasing the men, they still believed they were guilty.
Attorneys for these men have also filed federal civil lawsuits claiming misconduct against the detectives who investigated the crime.
“If Kimberly Foxx isn’t going to protect the safety and legal rights of our members, it’s time she found a new line of work. Her administration is quickly becoming a catastrophe for police and citizens. Rather than kowtowing to anti-police law firms, she should be reviewing many of their cases,” said Field Rep Bob Bartlett.