When officers hear what they think are gunshots, they get on the radio and announce “loud reports.” Then they head in the direction where they heard the shots.
These are among the more dangerous police responses, particularly in the most violent districts, like the 15th, on Chicago’s West Side. But in the last few years, responding to such calls has become more problematic and more dangerous, as officers cannot know what will happen to arrests they make when responding to such calls with a prosecutor’s office run since 2016 by Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx.
Foxx has been under national attack in the media for her decision to drop charges against Jussie Smollett. A collection of police chiefs throughout Chicago and the FOP Lodge 7 gathered together for a press conference on Thursday to condemn Foxx’s decision to drop charges in the case. But both the FOP and the chiefs had a lot more to say about Foxx than just the Smollett case. They painted a picture of a prosecutor unwilling to enforce the law, refusing to prosecute cases in which police officers are the victims of violence, and exonerating killers without sufficient evidence.
Some of the media seemed incredulous at the FOP press conference, more concerned with the racial makeup of the chiefs than their message about Foxx. They didn’t seem to understand how damaging Foxx has been for police officers trying to do their jobs.
Their skepticism is puzzling. The instances of the Foxx administration decisions putting police officers in harm’s way are rampant, like the times they respond to “shots fired” calls.
That’s what two officers from the 15th District Tact Team were doing in March. They heard two “loud reports,” and went to investigate. When they got to Waller Avenue, they observed a Chevy going southbound at a high rate of speed. Believing the driver may have fired the shots, they curbed the vehicle. That’s when they encountered Jerry Shade.
When the officers approached the car, Shade began moving his hands toward his waistband, a sign that he could be reaching for a gun, quite possibly the gun that had fired the shots they heard. Shade disobeyed commands by the officers to show his hands. They then told Shade to get out of the vehicle.
Shade refused and began struggling with the officers. Shade then locked the door of the car and attempted to roll up the window. The officers reached him and tried to pull him out, at which time Shade pulled away from the officers, dragging one of them with him, approximately 100 feet. The officer struck his head and suffered cuts and bruises.
The responding officers put out a flash message about Shade, but he made good his escape. Officers went to his home, but he wasn’t there. The injured officer went to the hospital where it was determined his injuries were “minor.” He was lucky. His injuries could have been much worse.
A few days later, the Fugitive Apprehension Unit arrested Shade. He was charged with Aggravated Battery to a police officer.
Questions remained unanswered. Between the time of Shade’s escape and his capture, did he get rid of evidence, like dope or a gun? Was he the guy who fired the shots? What was he up to that he felt compelled to drive off, dragging a police officer under his vehicle, to make good his escape? Clearly, he posed a threat to police officers by his actions. Not only did Shade risk the life of a police officer, but he tied up resources of the police and the State’s Attorney, just as Jussie Smollett did on a larger and more bizarre scale. There was the officer injured, taken to the hospital, the investigation, the approval of charges, the Fugitive Apprehension Unit investigation and then the arrest. Then there was the long process of him taken into custody, charged and his case going through the courts.
In the end, it didn’t matter. The officer who was dragged under Shade’s car got a phone call from prosecutors. They told him that they allowed Shade to plead Mental Health Probation, dropping the Felony Aggravated Battery to a Police Officer. Prosecutors notified the officer after the decision was made, in violation of the Illinois Crime Victims' Bill of Rights
Examples of Foxx prosecutors dropping charges lin cases like this one are rampant. One reason Foxx has not been called out for them is that the media just won’t cover them.
But the truth is that the prevalence of cases like this one add more weight to the call for Foxx to resign.