I am outraged at the looting that occurred overnight. In the 43rd Ward boundaries, one liquor store on Halsted was robbed, and neighbors turned out to help the store owner clean up and assess the damage.
But many businesses that were looted, including MIchigan Avenue stores, the New City shopping center and the Best Buy (pictured), were attacked in the same manner they were in early June.
This morning Chicago Police Superintendent Brown said that there were no consequences as a result of the looting in June. Last night, two people were shot, 13 CPD officers were injured responding to the scene, and more than 100 arrests were made as of this morning.
Prosecutions are the consequences needed. The Chicago Tribune reported in a story released this morning, the current State's Attorney's office "dropped all charges against 29.9% of felony defendants, a dramatic increase over her predecessor, the Tribune found. For the last three years of Anita Alvarez’s tenure, the rate was 19.4%."
Even more telling are the cases filed. A chart of the types of felony cases
prosecuted shows that for felony retail theft, Alvarez filed cases against 8151 defendants in the last three years of her tenure, and dropped 25% of cases, while Kim Foxx filed cases against only 3168 defendants in the first three years of her tenure, and dropped 29.5%. This means that for the last three years only 2,234 cases of felony retail theft have been prosecuted.
This is expected. The State's Attorney expressly said in 2016
that retail theft should not be a felony, and that "retail theft charges should remain a misdemeanor unless the value of the stolen goods exceeds $1,000 or the alleged shoplifter has 10 prior . . . convictions — a significant leap from the current standard of a single felony conviction."
Given that a single cell phone can be worth over $1,000, that should not be a difficult threshold to hit today.
Another shocking statistic is the crime of "escape." According to today's Tribune story, a felony charge of escape occurs when when a defendant cuts off electronic monitoring equipment. When electronic monitoring is ordered as a condition of bail, it is the legal equivalent of being in custody. The Tribune's analysis shows that the current State's Attorney dropped charges in 34.3% of the 1252 cases of escape charges, which the prior State's Attorney dropped only 4% of 1337 cases. This is a disturbing statistic, in light of the controversy over the effectiveness of bail reform
, and stories that hundreds of defendants on electronic monitoring
This must change.
CPD has created a special team to investigate all city police cameras for evidence of last night's looting so that the Mayor and Superintendent can pursue charges to the fullest extent of the law. I call on our State's Attorney to prosecute these retail thefts, which are driven by criminal enterprises.
As an immediate response, the Chicago Police Department, Department of Streets and Sanitation, CTA, CDOT and Illinois State Police will protect the downtown area as well as our neighborhoods. Days off are cancelled for our already overworked police officers and 12 hour shifts will be imposed.
Downtown access will be restricted from 8 p.m. - 6 a.m. until further notice. Expect a heavy police presence throughout the city.
I believe our police officers must be protected as they protect us. This criminality cannot be tolerated, and all public officials involved in the criminal justice system - police, OEMC, and prosecutors - must work together to bring good cases against these offenders. And to ensure that a clear message is sent that this behavior will not be tolerated in our city.
Stay strong while we fight this together.