On Thursday, eight Chicago police officers formally asked for a special prosecutor in the case of Jedidiah Brown, an activist who allegedly assaulted them. Brown appeared with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx at a press conference regarding her handling of the Jussie Smollett case, and reportedly worked for her political campaign in 2015, yet Foxx’s office is still overseeing the case against him. The officers are demanding a special prosecutor take over the case instead.
This petition reveals the anti-police corruption and animus in Foxx’s office. This animus is nothing new. Earlier this week, documents revealed that Foxx intervened in the Smollett case even after she had “recused” herself, and that her employee described police detectives as “the worst.”
Foxx also supported the case against police officers who were accused of orchestrating a cover-up in the Laquan Mcdonald case, but the police were acquitted. Wrongful conviction lawyers contributed to her campaign, and she has dismissed charges of murder that gang members freely confessed to. The Chicago police union has called for a federal investigation into Foxx’s office, and Trump announced a federal investigation into the Smollett case.
Yet the case of Jedidiah Brown seems particularly horrific. According to the complaint, on July 19, 2018, Brown and his fellow protesters started to block traffic on the street. Police warned them not to do so “on three separate occasions.” Brown refused to comply, and he also removed his jewelry and other belongings in order to physically assault the cops.
“After several warnings Mr. Brown and a fellow protester intentionally blocked traffic, daring the police to react. Brown’s associate was arrested first, peacefully and without a struggle. Nevertheless, Mr. Brown intentionally interfered with the arrest and yelled at the police to release the man,” the complaint states. “In an aggressive manner Mr. Brown charged at the police with his arms outstretched. Brown physically engaged with several officers. The pod camera above captured Mr. Brown punching one of the Petitioners. Brown’s aggression and criminal disobedience required several police officers to effectuate his arrest. During the cuffing procedure, Mr. Brown kicked another Petitioner.”
Despite clear evidence against Brown, Foxx’s office dropped the original felony charges of aggravated battery against two police officers. “Inexplicably, and despite its evidentiary value, the Commander ordered the defendant’s cell phone to be returned to him,” the complaint adds.
Interestingly, Brown’s friend and ally Lamon Reccord — who “had menaced the police with an extended metal baton” when Brown was arrested — announced in a Facebook Live video “that felony charges against Mr. Brown had been rejected by Ms. Foxx’s office… before the petitioners knew that felony charges had been rejected.”
The suspect was eventually charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery to a police officer, resisting arrest, and obstruction of justice by a non-motorist.
Before he was released, Brown spoke with two of the police petitioners, telling them “that he was a paid political worker for Kim Foxx, having worked on Ms. Foxx’s campaign in 2015.” He also spoke about Ja’Mal Green, who was paid a large sum from Foxx’s campaign but refused to share it with Brown and Reccord.
Despite the fact that Foxx’s office was continuing the prosecution against Brown, Foxx welcomed Brown on stage at a press conference on April 6, 2019. In that press conference, Foxx defended her office’s decision to drop the 16 felony counts against Empire star Jussie Smollett, who allegedly lied to the police in a hate hoax. At that conference, Ja’Mal Green referred to the Chicago police as the “Blue Klux Klan.” Neither Foxx nor Brown denounced this statement.
After the event, Brown took a picture with Foxx, sharing it on Facebook with the caption “Let the record reflect, I stand with Kim Foxx. Blue Klux Klan we aren’t going without a fight you’ll never forget!”
Let the record reflect, I stand with Kim FoxxBlue Klux Klan we aren't going without a fight you'll never forget!
“It was bad enough for [the police] to suffer punches and kicks from Jedidiah Brown while they tried to serve and protect the citizens of Chicago on July 19, 2018. It’s worse now after the Petitioners saw Mr. Brown standing and smiling with the elected State’s Attorney on April 6, 2019 and being left to wonder if their rights as victims and witnesses will be protected by the current prosecutor,” the petition states.
“Ms. Foxx’s public alliance with Jedidiah Brown, while his criminal case is still pending, is just another punch and kick to these police officers, but this time it’s to their confidence in the criminal justice system,” the petition adds.
The police insist that they do not seek special treatment but rather “nothing more and nothing less than a just, unbiased prosecution of Jedidiah Brown.”
“Mr. Brown’s paid assistance during Ms. Foxx’ campaign in 2015 and his presence on center stage at Operation Push showing his support for the State’s Attorney clearly establishes that the political relationship between the two is a strong and thriving relationship today,” the petition argues. This is a clear case of a conflict of interest.
In fact, on Tuesday, Brown published a video on Facebook urging people to donate to Foxx’s campaign, warning against a challenger supported by the police union.
Posted by Jedidiah Brown on Tuesday, April 16, 2019
“Any continued participation by the State’s Attorney in Jedidiah Brown’s criminal case ignores the obvious: the appearance of impropriety,” the petition reads. “Petitioners submit that there’s no hope for a zealous prosecution of Jedidiah Brown when the public political alliance between Mr. Brown and his current prosecutor compromise that prosecution. When you add in their political work history, justice and fairness demands the appointment of a special prosecutor.”
“Indeed, a zealous prosecution of one of Ms. Foxx’ current political allies and a former co-worker flies in the face of everything Ms. Foxx stands for, politically,” the document states.
Foxx should recuse herself from this case and a court should bring in a special prosecutor. But this is not the end of the story. Jedidiah Brown filed a federal lawsuit against the police officers, claiming they struck him first and arrested him for no reason.
If the petition is correct, the police have camera footage to back up their claims, so Brown’s lawsuit seems likely to fail. The very fact he filed it proves his presumption, however. Not only did Brown seem to think he would get away with blocking traffic and allegedly physically assaulting police officers, but he also tried to cash in on it.
During her remarks on the Smollett case, Foxx mentioned “criminal justice reform” four times. Criminal justice reform is indeed an important issue, but in this case, the petition suggests the police are in the right. It seems booting Foxx from office might be the criminal justice reform Chicago needs right now. At the least, a federal investigation into her office is long overdue.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.