Chicago, IL – Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has agreed to “formally” recuse herself from the case of a man charged with battery on a peace officer after she appeared on Facebook in a selfie with the defendant.
Eight Chicago police officers accused Foxx of conflict of interest after a photo of her posing with a grin next to Jedediah Brown in a selfie popped up on social media, WBBM reported.
At the time she posed for the selfie with the defendant, she was also prosecuting him.
“When you’re taking pictures with the prosecutor while you have a case pending, that appearance is of impropriety calls out for removal of that prosecutor,” James McKay, the attorney for the Chicago police officers, told WBBM. “If a prosecutor has a relationship – whether it’s a working relationship, a political relationship, a personal relationship – he or she should remove themselves from that case so it appears to be fair and impartial for both sides.”
McKay also pointed out that Foxx had Brown standing beside her on the platform at the press conference, as a measure of support, as she defended her controversial decision to drop the charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. She was also flanked by Rainbow/Push Coalition founder Reverend Jessie Jackson.
“It compromised [the officers’] confidence in the criminal justice system to say the least. This came to fruition as a result of that press conference, and right now they’re thankful that at least now they have an opportunity for fairness at the trial,” McKay said after Foxx’s decision to formally recuse herself was announced.
Brown is facing charges of resisting arrest, obstructing traffic, and two counts of misdemeanor battery to a peace officer for an incident that occurred when Brown was protesting an officer-involved shooting in July of 2018, WBBM reported.
The incident occurred during a protest march condemning the shooting of barber Harith Augustus.
Chicago Police Department Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Brown was arrested after he and other protesters had been asked multiple times to stop blocking traffic, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.
The arrest report said Brown became “resistant and officers had to physically restrain him to take him into custody,” according to Guglielmi.
A cell phone video of the incident posted to Twitter showed Brown fighting with officers and refusing to comply even after they took him to the ground.
The video also showed him refusing to walk to the police transport van and trying to cause a ruckus after he was loaded into it.
The officers who complained about Foxx’s conflict of interest also claimed Brown was a paid member of Foxx’s campaign staff
However, it turned out that Brown was only a volunteer for the future state’s attorney’s campaign, WBBM reported.
Foxx “formally” recusing herself means she asked the court to have a special prosecutor appointed to prosecute the case against Brown, taking it entirely out of her jurisdiction.
This is noteworthy because Foxx announced she was recusing herself from the Smollett case the day the actor was taken into custody, but instead of referring the case to another office as is protocol, she handed it to her top assistant, and never really uninvolved herself.
After her office dropped all 16 felony charges against Smollett, Foxx found herself in the hot seat with the Chicago mayor, the police chief, and the President of the United States, who has called for a federal investigation.
Two of Foxx’s top deputies have since tendered their resignations, and will be leaving the prosecutor’s office in early May.
Chief Ethics Officer April Perry, who wrote the memo announcing that Foxx had recused herself from “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s case, and veteran prosecutor Mark Rotert are both in the midst of their final weeks at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
A hearing is scheduled for the appointment of a special prosecutor on May 9, WBBM reported.