Decriminalizing gang bangers, Soros prosecutor Kim Foxx declines to charge five arrested in fatal gang shootout, citing ‘mutual combatants’

Chicago now is like Dodge City before Marshal Dillon arrived: a fatal shootout on its streets is no crime because both sides were shooting.  The Windy City already is world-famous for shootouts on its streets, with an astounding 3,625 shootings so far this year, 623 of them fatal. (That death toll would be higher save for the city’s superb medical care for gunshot victims, made possible by all the practice its trauma surgeons receive.) But how many more shooting matches will start now that the word is going out that you can escape charges in a gang shootout -- even if someone is killed -- if both sides are shooting?  

An escalating number of shootouts is the inescapable implication of the decision of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to release all five suspects arrested in a fatal shootout between rival gangs in the city’s Southside Austin neighborhood, not too far from the Obama Monument.  The head of that office, Kim Foxx, was elected with considerable financial support from George Soros, who has helped elect many soft-on-crime prosecutors across the US. Tom Schuba writes in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Five men linked to a deadly gang-related shootout Friday in Austin were released from custody after prosecutors declined to charge each of them with a pair of felonies, including first-degree murder, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

The brazen mid-morning gunfight, which left one shooter dead and two of the suspects wounded, stemmed from an internal dispute between two factions of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang, according to an internal police report and a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.

The source said police sought to charge all five suspects with murder and aggravated battery. By Sunday morning, a Chicago police spokeswoman acknowledged the suspects had “been released without charges.”

In a statement later Sunday, Cristina Villareal, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, explained that prosecutors had “determined that the evidence was insufficient to meet our burden of proof to approve felony charges.” Police officials agreed with the decision, Villareal added.

While she wouldn’t specify what other evidence prosecutors needed to file charges, the police report acknowledged that victims of the shootout weren’t cooperating with investigators.

But the report also framed the state’s attorney’s office’s decision to decline charges in a different light: “Mutual combatants was cited as the reason for the rejection.” Mutual combat is a legal term used to define a fight or struggle that two parties willingly engage in.

WGN-TV provides more details on the show the “mutual combat” shootout went down:

Friday morning, residents in North Austin were surrounded by a heavy police and SWAT presence after officers were called to a home near the corner of West Potomac Avenue and North Mason Avenue.

SWAT response to the shooting (YouTube screengrab)

According to this account, SWAT already was there, and then:

Two vehicles then pulled up, with occupants leaving the cars and firing shots towards a home.

The people inside the home returned fire, eventually killing one of the gunmen from outside, with multiple other people being injured.

So, if the people being shot at return fire, no charges? Even Lori Lightfoot, the city’s equally eccentric Democrat mayor can’t handle that. Craig Wall of WLS-TV:

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and some West Side aldermen called on Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx to reverse her decision on the case.

"If they do not feel like the criminal justice system is going to hold them accountable, we're going to see a level of brazenness that will send the city into chaos and we cannot let that happen," the mayor said Monday. (snip)

Lightfoot, herself a former prosecutor, believes there's evidence to make a case.

"I think that there's evidence there. We've got videotape, we have a marked squad of uniformed officers who were on the scene observing it," she said. "At a bare minimum, the individuals who initiated the firefight must be prosecuted."

"I think it goes beyond frustration, I'm furious about it," said 29th Ward Alderman Chris Taliaferro, who oversees the ward where the shooting took place.

Elizabeth Matthews of Fox32

It happened in the 1200 block of Mason in Austin around 11 a.m. last Friday. The shooting was caught on a pod camera and police say more than 70 shots were fired. Two groups of gang members were shooting at each other. One of the alleged shooters died and two others were wounded.

"She's got to explain to the public, why? Given that evidence, a pod camera right there that captured the entire thing and police officers on the scene in uniform, and a squad car there, why that isn't enough," said a furious Mayor Lightfoot. (snip)

"If the bad guys that are out there that are picking up guns and shooting without any regard for the sanctity of life, do not believe that there's accountability for them, the brazenness will not end. It will escalate, it will continue and our communities will not be safe," Lightfoot said.

Foxx’s office is explaining that there is not enough evidence, but what about gunpowder residue tests on the hands of those arrested? Even if you can’t prove that a specific individual’s shot killed someone, firing a gun in a fatal shootout is a crime. If it is a felony, then the doctrine of felony murder should apply – all who participated in a felony that resulted in a murder are equally guilty of murder.

Less than a week ago, Foxx’s office declined to prosecute another murder, this time with a knife, that was also recorded, where lack of evidence shouldn’t have been a problem, because only two people were involved, and the attack was recorded. It was the same excuse: “mutual combat”:

This is the same result that came from a deadly fight between two teens in Schaumburg last Tuesday.

Manuel Porties Jr. died after being stabbed during a one-on-one fight that was recorded by bystanders. Porties Jr.’s family told WGN that prosecutors declined charging the other teen, saying it was mutual combat.

It looks a lot like the Foxx standard for prosecuting now is to let everyone off unless one side fails to respond to an attack by fighting back.

Foxx’s office is sticking to the lack of evidence story, blaming the police, but leaving the door open for future prosecution (just in case public pressure becomes irresistible?)

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office released a statement in response to the mayor's calls, saying: As a former federal prosecutor, the Mayor knows of the ethical obligation of the prosecutor to only bring forth charges where the facts, evidence, and law support it. She is also fully aware that as a prosecutor we are obligated not to try cases in the media. It is unclear why she has chosen to make such statements, especially absent the full information that was presented to our office by CPD. The detectives reached out to our office on Friday and acknowledged at the outset that given the chaotic nature at the scene they were unable to determine how the events unfolded. We reviewed the evidence that was presented to us in consultation with the detectives and they agreed we were unable to approve charges based on the evidence presented. However, as always, as additional evidence is gathered we stand ready to bring charges when appropriate. Additionally, the facts the mayor presented today simply are not in line with what was presented to us by CPD, and not born out by the evidence we received. The staggering violence that is devastating our communities is horrific, however, we must still adhere to both our ethical and legal standards in evaluating charges. As a former prosecutor, she knows that.

Better see what George Soros has to say. His prosecutors have been alienating a lot of voters lately.

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