“My name is on the door. … I don’t believe in pushing blame or the buck,” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told the Sun-Times. “The public was relying on information that our office presented to the court and the media relied upon that wasn’t fully accurate. I own that.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx acknowledged Thursday she should have known what one of her top deputies was going to say in court about the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo because it was a “heater case.”
“My name is on the door. Anything that happens that comes from the state’s attorney’s office, I am responsible for. I don’t believe in pushing blame or the buck,” Foxx told the Sun-Times.
“In this instance, the public was relying on information that our office presented to the court and the media relied upon that wasn’t fully accurate. I own that.”
Foxx has placed veteran prosecutor Jim Murphy on administrative leave because, according to a statement from her office, Murphy “failed to fully present the facts” during a bond hearing when he didn’t specifically state Toledo was unarmed at the moment a Chicago police officer shot him.
During an April 10 bond hearing describing allegations against 21-year-old Ruben Roman — who was arrested at the scene of Adam’s shooting in Little Village — Murphy told a judge Toledo had a gun in his right hand a moment before he was shot.
“The officer tells [Adam] to drop it as [Adam] turns towards the officer. [Adam] has a gun in his right hand,” Murphy said in court. “The officer fires one shot at [Adam], striking him in the chest. The gun that [Adam] was holding landed against the fence a few feet away.”
Murphy’s statement matches a portion of what the video of the fatal March 29 shooting shows, but did not specifically note Adam dropped the weapon and had his hands in the air less than a second before he was shot by the officer.
On Thursday, Foxx acknowledged she did not see the statement of facts Murphy read aloud in court — and that she should have seen it.
“We do bond proffers daily, many times a day. They don’t rise up to me. One of the things that we are looking at in this particular case, because it’s a heater case, is why it had not been sent up to me,” she said.
Foxx was asked why she didn’t demand to see Murphy’s statement and whether she would put herself on leave for failing to do so.
She would say only that the internal investigation she has ordered would make certain there are “mechanisms and protocols in place so that people are properly notified in cases like this.”
“What I said is I didn’t know. … And how that happened is something that is critically important to our organization,” she said.
“I’m not disagreeing with the significance of the case. And I’m not disagreeing that those types of proffers are things that would be expected to be elevated. … Something was amiss here. And we’re taking responsibility by getting to the heart of what that is so that it doesn’t happen again.”
Foxx acknowledged Murphy’s punishment — and the possibility his supervisors may be similarly held accountable — has impacted morale in the state’s attorney’s office.
“Morale in our office has been very difficult. This is someone who is well-respected and regarded both internally [and] externally by judges and defense attorneys and has a reputation that has been incredibly strong,” she said.
“But I have a responsibility … to make sure that we’re as transparent as we need to be and take responsibility” for mistakes.
Having said that, Foxx categorically denied Murphy was being thrown under the bus to minimize the political heat Foxx is getting from Hispanic community leaders for the false narrative her office waited five days to correct.
“This isn’t about political cover. This is about the expectation of law enforcement to be forthright and transparent. There is no sacrificial lamb here. This is about making sure that we get it right and when we don’t get it right, owning it doing what we need to do to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
Video released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability last week appeared to show Toledo with both hands in the air after tossing the gun he was carrying behind a fence a split second before he was shot in the chest.
Foxx refused to characterize the video as her office continues its investigation to determine whether to file criminal charges against the officer, but she said she won’t be influenced by what happened to her predecessor, Anita Alvarez.
Alvarez was swept out of office by Foxx after waiting a year — until the day the Laquan McDonald shooting video was released by a judge’s order — to file murder charges against then-Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated battery.
“My pressure is that we have a 13-year-old boy who was killed and the expectation from people in our community … who want to be able to see answers and resolution to this,” she said.
“It is not a pressure related to previous elections. It’s a pressure to the severity of the incident that brought us to this point.”