In Chicago, the Laquan McDonald fallout continues as election day comes for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez on Tuesday. She’s under fire for waiting over a year to charge McDonald’s killer, and now The Daily Beast reports that Alvarez has failed to file charges against police officers in 68 fatal shootings, all told.
Reporter Justin Glawe writes that Alvarez often brushed off civilian shootings, with the media showing relatively little resistance or interest before before the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum. But now that police violence is an election issue and Alvarez’s seat is up for reelection (and under fierce competition from Kim Foxx and Donna More), voters want to know why she hasn’t indicted more cops.
Of course, to combat the appearance of shadiness, Alvarez is now preaching transparency through her public relations team, at least.
“I can tell you one of the things [Alvarez] has talked about doing is that we need to make more information available to the public,” said Daly, spokeswoman for the state’s attorney. “That’s one of the things that she’s acknowledged that we need to do. Eventually we will be posting on our website the final report that gives the basis for declination of charges.”
Daly added that “nearly 100 officers from Cook County… have been charged by the state’s attorney’s office.” Chicago’s record of police charges is also better than other cities like Atlanta, according to Daly, where 75 people have been shot since 2010 without charges filed, or in Philadelphia, where no charges were filed against cops from 2007 to 2013.
And while none of that is acceptable, let’s stay focused on Alvarez in the Windy City. She only charged Jason Van Dyke in McDonald’s shooting 400 days after his death, after widespread protests calling for Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to step down, and after a judge mandated the dash cam footage of McDonald’s death be released. Her past reputation for viciously attacking victims of police violence, both physical and sexual, is also coming to light. From The Washington Post:
One incident in 2010 involved Tiawanda Moore, a black woman who filed a police misconduct complaint against an officer who she said groped her. When she felt that investigators were intimidating her during questioning, Moore began taping them with her smartphone. Alvarez charged Moore with a felony, saying she violated Illinois’ anti-eavesdropping laws. A jury later acquitted Moore and accused Alvarez of overreach.
Recently, in the fatal shooting of a man named Ronald Johnson in December, Alvarez held a press conference explaining why she wouldn’t indict the officers who shot him while presenting evidence to the public, including video, witness statements and more. Perhaps this move towards some transparency will be enough to keep her in office while those who demand justice for McDonald want her out. But, if Alvarez is ousted at the polls, it’ll be a statement.
“If Anita Alvarez is voted out of office, it sends a message to the state’s attorney’s office in Cook County as well as nationally that there is movement holding the entire system accountable for the culture of complicity that pervades every aspect of government,” says Aislinn Pulley, the Chicago coordinator of Black Lives Matter. “That includes prosecutors.”
We’ll see what Chicago’s voters have to say about Alvarez very soon, and, to be honest, we’re on the edge of our seats.
Image via Getty.