Days after an attorney general in Chicago refused to charge five men in a gang-related shooting that left one person dead, claiming that the individuals were engaged in “mutual combat,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot is asking for the federal government to step in and deal with the situation.
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx refused to charge five men in connection with a gun fight in which one person died and two others were wounded. Foxx made her decision despite requests from police, who wanted felony charges for every suspect, including murder and aggravated battery.
Footage of the shooting, which circulated on social media, shows two people firing shots next to two waiting cars. When a police cruiser pulls up, one of the shooters jumps into one of the waiting cars, while the other is left lying in the street.
The five men were released, prompting social media commentators to describe the decision as to the “decriminalization of murder” in Chicago.
According to the Daily Wire, prosecutors initially said they “determined that the evidence was insufficient to meet our burden of proof to approve felony charges.”
A later memo claims that “mutual combatants was cited as the reason for rejection.” In other words, the men were not charged because they only posed a danger to each other, despite the high incidence rate of gang violence in Chicago.
On Tuesday, Mayor Lightfoot announced she was calling in support from the federal government to review the situation. She appeared to suggest that she believed the footage and weapons confiscated from the suspects matched those of the crime scene.
“I’ve also reached out to the U.S. attorney to ask him to also evaluate the evidence that was there to see if there’s a possibility for federal charges,” Lightfoot said, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. “Whatever evidence that needs to be gathered, the police department is going to be Johnny on the spot and make sure we get it.”
The paper added:
The dueling press conferences reveal the stark division between Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor herself, and the county’s top law enforcement official over what evidence is needed to prosecute the suspects Chicago police had hoped Foxx would charge with first-degree murder and aggravated battery.
“Whatever evidence that needs to be gathered, the police department is going to be Johnny on the spot and make sure we get it,” Lightfoot said after she appeared in Pilsen with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge at an unrelated event. “But this is, to me, a very compelling case.”
Speaking at a press conference, Foxx said prosecutors did not want to charge individuals if they were not confident they could not obtain a conviction, implying there was not enough evidence against the suspects, that the suspects were not clearly visible in police footage of the shootout, and that the suspects were not cooperating with the police.