23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares

23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares

Tabares blasts Foxx over ‘no seizure’ idea

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Brands State’s Attorney as ‘pro-criminal’

By Tim Hadac

Twenty-third Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares this week blasted outgoing Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx over a possible change in how crimes are—or are not–prosecuted.Foxx recently said she is considering a plan to decline to prosecute weapons and drug crimes detected by routine traffic stops.

Foxx “is more interested in cementing her legacy as the biggest pro-criminal advocate in the nation,” Tabares said in a public statement.

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23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares

At issue are so-called “pretextual stops”—when police curb vehicles for minor violations such as a busted tail light, an expired license plate or failure to wear seatbelts. Many if not most law enforcement officers see such stops as useful—both in and of themselves—but also because such stops often lead to discovery of illegal drugs, weapons, stolen vehicles or more serious crimes.

Critics of pretextual stops have long claimed they are a tool of institutionalized racism—that police use such stops to harass black and Hispanic motorists.

In a published interview, Foxx said, “It felt like it was time to do something about [pretextual stops].” Foxx, in office for more than seven years, did not say why she waited until 2024 to make the policy change.

She said studies show that such stops do not reduce gun-related violence in the city and suburban Cook County.

Tabares said “a violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code warrants a traffic stop. For an officer to search a vehicle for contraband, they must have probable cause, additional articulable suspicion beyond the traffic violation, or consent of the driver. If they do not, a judge will throw out the charges for anything beyond the traffic infraction. Anybody with a basic understanding of criminal law knows this.”

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Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx

Foxx’s idea “is probably the most outrageous and pro-illegal firearm action from an already reckless soon-to-be ex-State’s Attorney,” Tabares continued. “It strips officers… of an essential tool to get illegal guns off our streets. Residents are demanding we do more to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and make their neighborhoods safe. This does the opposite.”

Tabares’ statement in some ways echoes what Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7 President John Catanzara said last month in the wake of the fatal shooting of CPD officer Luis Huesca near 56th and Kedzie. Saying the thousands of weapons confiscated by police every year in Chicago were at multiple points carried in a vehicle, Catanzara said, “To the idiots who think pretextual traffic stops are a problem, I can assure you, I’m sure Luis’ mom would have prayed that a pretextual stop would have occurred an hour prior to that piece of sh~t shooting her son, so [the criminal] would have been off the street and that gun would have been off the street.”

Local reaction mixed

Southwest Siders outside the Jewel-Osco at 54th and Pulaski offered a range of opinions earlier this week.

“So let me get this straight,” Jon Bensch said. “If a cop stops a gangbanger for an expired license plate and discovers illegal guns or drugs in the car, the cop can seize the guns and drugs—but now Kim Foxx won’t prosecute? That’s crazy. That’s wrong. What’s the point of having laws?”

Kelvyn Sewell said he agrees with Foxx “to a point. I think it’s clear from the studies I’ve seen that [pretextual stops] are used as a tool to over-police the black community. And that has to stop. But I think this policy of not prosecuting is going too far in the other direction. We need to find some sort of middle ground.”

Juliana Merced-Olivares said the draft policy “sounds like the tail wagging the dog, like a society that’s lost its mind, like we’re in a Mad Max movie or something. This makes me glad that we’re moving out to Will County this summer. I’ll feel safer there. They support their police by prosecuting crimes. Here [in Cook County] the people in charge always seem to make excuses for criminals, from the mayor on down.”

David Sánchez contributed to this story.

1 Comment

  1. Mike .M on May 24, 2024 at 10:40 pm

    Kim Foxx has completely lost her mind Common sense . And only doing this because she lost. She obviously could care less about good people. Getting Gunned down . Stabbed an Robbed .and people..leaving the city and cook county. Business leaving in record numbers.and Her and this poor excuse of a Mayer are going to destroy the city and suburbs. She’s gone next vote his Butt out Too.!!!!!!!!!



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