Kim Foxx Strikes Again, Settles Old Scores with Chicago Police

May 31, 2024

Cook County prosecutor markets the “driving while black” canard

If Chicago residents didn’t think Kim Foxx would inflict further damage upon Cook County’s justice system on her way out the door, think again. In another strike at precious justice calculated to frustrate the prosecution of criminals, Chicago’s hopelessly incompetent prosecutor is once again creating controversy by advancing a proposal in which the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (CCSAO) would refuse to prosecute an array of offenses resulting from a non-public safety traffic stop.

Under Foxx’s draft policy, the CCSAO would decline to prosecute some gun, drug, or theft charges brought by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in instances where alleged violations resulted from what Foxx refers to as a pretextual stop.

The culmination of the March 21 fatal shooting of an armed motorist, Dexter Reed, by CPD in Humboldt Park, Foxx’s proposal concentrates on what Foxx defines as a pretextual stop. What Foxx describes as a pretextual traffic stop occurs when an officer stops a vehicle for the objective of conducting a minimally intrusive criminal investigation unrelated to the motorist’s driving, with the actual purpose of investigating or searching for evidence of another, unrelated crime

Though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1996 pretextual traffic stops do not violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure, and the Illinois General Assembly (IGA) has adopted laws empowering police to carry out such measures, the sole objective of Foxx's proposal is to place constraints on proactive police work.

Wringing her hands as she cited a “trend” of CPD stops as officers deliberately victimizing black drivers, Foxx said:

“It felt like it was time to do something about it (pretextual stops) and so our office — armed with data, armed with the knowledge that these stops have not significantly or in any way reduced violence in our city — decided that it was time to look at this issue and see if we could model a best practice that we’ve seen in other jurisdictions.”


While Foxx claims she is acting out of regard for public safety, the assumption underlying her statement is traffic stops serve as an incentive for CPD to engage in heavy-handed and intrusive policing against Chicago’s black motorists. A baseless and pernicious fabrication, there are valid reasons for CPD to enforce traffic laws: Traffic enforcement is a public safety measure.

There is considerable evidence police enforcement of traffic regulations reduces crash injuries and fatalities. Motorists who flout posted speed limits, ignore traffic signals, drive recklessly, text while driving, fail to yield to pedestrians, or operate a vehicle without functioning lights, broken mirrors, or a shattered windshield often elevate the risk of auto accidents and injuries to other motorists or pedestrians.

Though it is true a vast majority of traffic enforcement involves noncriminal conduct, Ms. Foxx’s proposal disregards entirely the fact automobiles are common instruments and objects of crime. With vehicles contributing to the significant number of homicides, shootings, and the movement of illegal weapons and drugs in Chicago, CPD is trained to be alert to automobiles with expired or missing registration tags, missing license plates, or in a barely functional state. Motorists found in violation of these laws are frequently found to be involved in significant criminal behavior.

A traffic stop conducted by an officer of a driver or passenger found with expired or sham temporary registration tags or fraudulent license plates allows CPD to then question drivers or occupants of a car and probe for information which indicates the person has committed some not apparent or yet-to-be identified violation of the law. Vigilant policing, this skill often yields illegal guns, drugs, stolen goods, stolen cars, drivers under the influence, and individuals with outstanding warrants. Even in instances in which police do not issue citations or make no arrest, officers involved in the stop of a suspicious vehicle share their experience with patrolmen, who are made aware of potential hazards and notified of suitable targets of which officers should be aware.

Moreover, these traffic stops have allowed CPD to cultivate relationships with minor offenders who agree to become confidential informants. These informants can furnish police with invaluable information leading CPD to search warrants which can result in the removal of drugs, illegal weapons and offenders involved in larger criminal enterprises from the streets.

“Foxx is intentionally misleading the public and implying that officers have the right to stop any car they want, search whatever they want, whenever they want. That is false. The true intention of the policy is to pressure officers into not enforcing the Illinois Vehicle Code.
If we want to stop people from being pulled over, amend the Illinois Vehicle Code.  If you do not want to get pulled over, obey the law. A traffic stop is initiated not because of the who is driving, but how they are driving, or the non-compliance of their vehicle on the roadway. Driving is not a right. It is a privilege granted by the state with requirements which we all must obey. 
Each individual stop must be justified under Illinois Vehicle Code. From personal experience in my ward where we have issues with reckless driving, drag racing, and car caravans, especially along Pulaski Road and Archer Avenue. I want more traffic stops in my ward.  They work.  I do not think you can find one victim of gun violence, or the family of a victim of gun violence who does not wish the shooter was not pulled over and taken into custody prior to them pulling the trigger and taking a life. Let Foxx justify her new policy to the family of 3-year-old Mateo Zastro, who was shot and killed in my ward during a road rage incident, or the thousands of other victims of violent crimes involving guns and cars,” said Alderman Silvana Tabares (23).

Foxx is settling old scores with Chicago Police

Kim Foxx’s proposal declining to prosecute some crimes originating from traffic stops demonstrates the lengths to which she is willing to go to continue waging her insurgent war on Cook County’s justice system. Now nearing the end of her eight-year hissy fit, Foxx’s lettre de cachet — another retreat from prosecuting crime — is sending a powerful message she intends to use her office as a rampart for the protection of criminals and flay CPD until the moment she exits office.

In Ms. Foxx’s paranoid, abstract mind, the very act of policing — the enforcement of laws enacted by the IGA — is an exercise in race-based persecution. More precisely, to Foxx, pretextual stops are a discriminatory and repressive policing practice CPD applies to stop black motorists out of proportion to their numbers in the driving population.

A woman convinced Chicago’s criminal justice system and its law enforcement agencies are structures which embody pervasive racism, Ms. Foxx believes Dexter Reed justifiably fired on officers in the attempt to defend himself from police.

A foolhardy proposal fraught with several consequences, Foxx’s new policy interfering with street level police work ignores how stripping CPD of their capacity to intervene in and prevent crime allows criminality to flourish and gives way to outright pandemonium on the streets. Second, despite perpetually sermonizing over the need to “rebuild trust” between police and residents, Foxx’s proposal — which portrays Chicago Police as the neighborhood bully — is factually enflaming racial divisions and exploiting residents’ fear and animus with police. Finally, though she has endlessly bemoaned gun crime, Foxx’s proposal will force CPD to further withdraw from engaging in proactive policing crafted to eliminate crimes committed with firearms.

Chicago Police never posed a threat to Dexter Reed. To the contrary, Reed represented a grave threat to both police and to public safety.

As the curtain comes down on her two terms in office, Kim Foxx’s new proposal declining to prosecute some crimes resulting from pretextual stops signals she is bent on doing the maximum amount of damage to justice up to the moment she leaves office. A woman who has routinely placed her political convictions ahead of the basic responsibilities of her office, Foxx’s measure is inspired by her blithe assumption Chicago police officers murder black motorists with impunity. In the search for someone to blame for the death of an armed Dexter Reed, rather than assign guilt on the man who opened fire on police, Foxx prefers to take steps to render police powerless, stoke hostility toward CPD, and politicize police use-of-force incidents.

The befouling of the CCSAO and a terrible disservice to residents, Foxx’s new policy measure is an embarrassing sign of how, under her leadership, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office has shifted from being a beacon of justice for the victims of crime to an advocacy shop for violent criminals.

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