News & Politics

Protesters Face Off in Dueling Rallies Over Kim Foxx's Handling of Jussie Smollett Case

Protesters Face Off in Dueling Rallies Over Kim Foxx's Handling of Jussie Smollett Case
Former mayoral candidate and community activist Ja'Mal Green, right, verbally spars with Fraternal Order of Police supporters protesting against Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx outside the county administration building, Monday, April 1, 2019. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Dueling Jussie Smollett protesters faced off in Chicago Monday, with one side chanting “Blue Lives Matter!” and the other side chanting “Black Lives Matter!”

The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (Chicago FOP) rallied outside Foxx’s downtown Chicago office at 11:00 a.m., demanding that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx resign.

Foxx has come under withering criticism for her office’s decision in March to dismiss 16 felony disorderly conduct charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett amid overwhelming evidence that he staged a hate-crime attack against himself.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “the scene became chaotic when the groups merged, and counterprotesters — initially positioned across the street from Foxx’s office — crossed to where the FOP members were staged.”

The dueling demonstrations intensified but remained nonviolent as people from opposing sides clashed verbally, shouting and cursing at one another. Dozens of police officers were on hand to quell the conflicts and eventually used their bicycles to create a barrier between the two groups.

FOP protesters chanted “Foxx must go!” as the pro-Foxx activists chanted“Racists must go!” in response.

Earlier in the day, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church, elected officials, and community activists held their own rally at the Chicago Temple supporting Foxx, ABC7 reported:

Jackson called criticism against Foxx “unreasonable, unjustified and politically motivated,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Jackson said Foxx did the legal and right thing in recusing herself from the case.

Jackson calls the outrage over Smollett misplaced and out of proportion, and claimed first-time offenders in Cook County often have their class 4 felony cases dismissed.

“We are not going to allow the FOP, the mayor and Eddie Johnson to use the Jussie Smollet case to beat us over the head with it,” said Frank Chapman, co-chairman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

“This is phony justice,” Chapman added. “Not one person from the FOP or anyone of their ilk called a demonstration in defense of or promoting justice for Laquan McDonald.”

Chicago Police Union Second Vice President Martin Preib last week called Foxx’s handling of the Smollett case “very dark and suspicious.”

“The conduct of her office from the very beginning of this case was highly, highly suspicious,” Preib told the Chicago Sun-Times last week.

On Monday, retired Chicago Police detective Peter Garza said: “Somebody needs to tell Kim Foxx she’s the prosecutor, not the public defender. You can’t have a prosecutor who has this mindset of a public defender.”

Supporters of Kim Foxx expressed outrage over the criticism during their 10:00 a.m. protest.

“This is not just an attack on Kim Foxx. This is an attack on all black elected officials throughout the state,” community activist Ja’Mal Green said. “We know what this is really about, and we don’t stand for it.”

Pfleger, a committed SJW, also defended Foxx: “Disagree with her, but take your damn hands off her. Change is going to come whether you want it or not,” he told the crowd.

“The attack on Kim Foxx isn’t about Jussie,” Pfleger said. “It’s an excuse to remove a strong black woman.”

Meanwhile, Fox 32 reporter Rafer Weigel reported on Twitter that Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has accepted Foxx’s decision to drop the charges.