Cook County state’s attorney candidate Donna More spoke about her plans to curb gun violence, tackle public corruption, and strengthen community and police relations on Wednesday afternoon at the Institute of Politics (IOP). Earlier this month, the IOP hosted Kim Foxx, one of More’s opponents in the March 15 general primary elections. Both candidates are seeking to unseat incumbent Democrat Anita Alvarez.
Citing Chicago gun violence statistics—2,552 shot and wounded and 443 shot and killed in 2015—More pledged to make combatting gun violence a top priority as state’s attorney.
“Prosecutors can’t be on the streets, but we can focus law enforcement so we convict people who move large numbers of illegal guns in Cook County,” More said. “The fact is, in 90 percent of the cases, the guns used to commit crimes are obtained illegally. Police are getting more guns off the streets than ever, but the violence won’t abate until the criminals are held truly accountable.”
A key component of More’s plan is the creation of a centralized Cook County Safety Alliance where parents, principals and teachers, pastors, police, prosecutors, activists, and elected officials can unite to tackle crime.
More also advocated for reforms to the state’s attorney’s office. In particular, she emphasized the need for the office to be genuinely independent, warning of the dangers of a state’s attorney that is accountable to politicians and not the public.
“When you base decisions on influence and not evidence, you get some bad results,” More said. “You get cover ups, video tapes that aren’t released, and you get charges that aren’t brought for months and months and months.”
This comment referenced Alvarez’s handling of the Laquan McDonald case, which drew widespread criticism.
“The whole world saw the Laquan McDonald tape. The whole world understood that what the police officer did was criminal, that there was probable cause to indict officer Van Dyke. There was only one person who didn’t understand that from watching the videotape, and that’s our current state’s attorney,” she said.
More further explained that an independent state’s attorney’s office is necessary for fairness and consistency in the criminal justice system.
“If you’re not going to indict a white kid on the North Side who has political connections in a one-punch murder, then you better be consistent and fair and not indict an African American kid in Englewood who does the same thing,” she said.
Concluding with a pledge to implement real solutions rather than simply continue the conversation on criminal justice reform, More asserted her ability to raise money and run a campaign without the political support of establishment Democrats.
“I can run this race without any political person supporting me. The public is who I’maccountable to,” she said.