DOWNTOWN — Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez defended her office Thursday by forcefully telling reporters there was "no way" she would "even consider" resigning.
(Scroll down to watch the exchange)
"I know what's been reported out there, the nasty, horrific stories about me," Alvarez said following a protest outside her office calling for her resignation. "... If Anita Alvarez wanted to whitewash a case, if Anita Alvarez was gonna look the other way, if Anita Alvarez wasn't going to do her job, and look at this case, and do the review for excessive force — let me think. Hmm. I'm going to conspire to you know whitewash this, to push it under the rug. Hmm. Who are my co-conspirators going to be? Let me see. I'm gonna call on the head of the FBI to help me!"
She called accusations of a cover-up in the Laquan McDonald case "absurd" and appeared extremely flustered by the criticism.
"I am a professional prosecutor," she said. "I have done this job for 29 years, speaking up on behalf of the victims of Cook County, the majority of those victims being minority. And to be portrayed in this light by seasoned politicians with political agendas is disgusting and it's degrading. I am going to continue to be the Cook County State's Attorney and there is no way that I would ever even consider resigning."
The Rev. Michael Russell, president of Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, called the McDonald case and the police dashcam video of his shooting by officer Jason Van Dyke, released last week, "the tip of the iceberg of how [Alvarez] has failed in her role."
"This office no longer has the community trust and has a demonstrated lack of accountability to its citizens," Russell said outside Alvarez's offices in Cook County's Dunne Building Downtown.
Cook County commissioners Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D-Chicago) and John Fritchey (D-Chicago) followed Thursday by calling on Alvarez to appear before the county board's Criminal Justice Committee to face grilling on the over yearlong delay in charging Van Dyke with McDonald's murder. Fritchey said that "smacks of political opportunism."
Garcia has already called on Alvarez to resign, and Fritchey acknowledged he has endorsed Donna More in the race against Alvarez in the upcoming Democratic primary election in March. Kim Foxx is also running.
Fritchey added that, if he had his preference, Alvarez would not be in office during next year's budget hearings for the state's attorney.
"This is not an inquisition. It's an invitation," Fritchey added. "We're not bullying her. We're inviting her."
He called it "her chance to give us the facts we don't know" and explain the delay in charging Van Dyke.
"We're already known as the murder capital," Fritchey said of Chicago's murder rate. "We don't want to be known as the cover-up capital as well."
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