#ByeAnita: Chicago Voters Oust State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez

By Kenrya Rankin Mar 16, 2016

It took nearly four months, but Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez’s days in office are now numbered. Challenger Kim Foxx won 58 percent of the vote in yesterday’s (March 15) Illinois Democratic primaries, which means Alvarez will not have the chance to run in the general election this fall. Chicago Tribune reports that the incumbent won 29 percent of votes, followed by Donna More with 13 percent.

Alvarez has been the subject of public scrutiny since November, when courts forced her to release dashcam video that showed Chicago Police Department officer Jason Van Dyke killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in a manner that was inconsistent with the department’s version of events. Alvarez indicted Van Dyke the same day. Critics say that she and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel choose to keep the video under wraps to help Emanuel win a pending reelection run-off.

Activists immediately called for her—and Emanuel’s—resignation, but Alvarez said that, “she didn’t “believe any mistakes were made.”

Alvarez didn’t reference McDonald in her concession speech, saying, “I have been criticized that I wasn’t a very good politician, and that’s probably right, and that’s probably why I stand before you tonight. But I am very damn proud of the fact that I am a good prosecutor, I have been.”

Activist group Assata’s Daughters, who has been a vocal force in the campaign to remove Alvarez from office, has previously said that Alvarez is “responsible for protecting law enforcement officers that extinguish the voices and lives of Black people. By refusing to prosecute officers that kill, abuse and sexually assault Black people, Alvarez encourages a culture of exceptionally lawless policing.”

The group issued the following statement last night, which was emailed to Colorlines:

Chicago Black youth have kicked Anita Alvarez out of office. Just a month ago, Anita Alvarez was winning in the polls. Communities who refuse to be killed, jailed, and abused without any chance at justice refused to allow her to be re-elected as State’s Attorney. We did this for Rekia… We did this for Laquan… We won’t stop until we’re free and Kim Foxx should know that as well.

Foxx also left out mention of McDonald in her speech, saying, “The work is just beginning, and our struggles here are very real. The need to rebuild a broken criminal justice system here in Cook County is not work that should be taken lightly.”

Many took to Twitter to congratulate Chicago organizers—including Black Lives Matter, Assata’s Daughters and Black Youth Project 100—for their work in pushing Alvarez out of office.