Cook County state's attorney candidates trade barbs, jabs in final debate
Nothing was off the table but the gloves Thursday evening in a WTTW Channel 11 debate for the three candidates in the Democratic primary race for Cook County state's attorney.
Two-term incumbent Anita Alvarez and challengers Kim Foxx and Donna More spent the allotted half-hour shouting over one another and questioning each other's experience and credibility in the final debate before Tuesday's primary.
Foxx, who's worked as a state prosecutor and is a former chief of staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and More, an attorney who worked for the Illinois Gaming Board and as a state and federal prosecutor, jumped on Alvarez for her handling of the high-profile case involving a white Chicago police officer's 2014 shooting of a black teen.
Alvarez, a River Forest Democrat, filed first-degree murder charges again officer Jason Van Dyke more than a year after the shooting and just before the court-ordered release of the police video showing the 17-year-old being shot 16 times.
While she said she was working closely with federal authorities and was acting in the interest of public safety in issuing the charges last November, her opponents suggested that her move was motivated primarily by politics.
"Nobody in this county believes that charges would have been filed if the videotape hadn't been released," More, of Chicago, said.
But Alvarez quickly hit back.
"I stand by my decision. Neither one of my opponents have the ability or experience to try this case," she said.
She called More "a liar" and a "Republican" -- referencing campaign donations to GOP candidates including Gov. Bruce Rauner. She questioned why More was in the race at all,
She also called Foxx a "political puppet" to a "political boss" and said suggested the Flossmoor attorney had little trial experience.
More described herself as a Democrat but an independent thinker, the only candidate in the race free from political influence.
Highlighting her work with the county public guardian's office and in Preckwinkle's office to reduce the county jail population and address racial disparities in both the criminal and juvenile justice systems, Foxx said she's the only candidate able to restore the credibility of the criminal justice system. She said Alvarez was using her public office to distort Foxx's record for political gain.