When it comes to conflicting views about why portions of Chicago continue to serve as shooting galleries for gangs and gangsters, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) did not appear to be in any mood to listen to them on Monday.
During a Judiciary Committee hearing on “Combating Gun Trafficking and Reducing Violence in Chicago,” Durbin repeatedly interrupted and cut off Heritage Foundation legal fellow Amy Swearer as she attempted to cite data regarding selective prosecutions by the office of State’s Attorney for Cook County Kim Foxx.
“OUTRAGEOUS: @SenatorDurbin cut off @AmySwearer during her opening remarks to prevent her [from] citing data on rogue prosecutors. Revealing the hearing titled ‘combating gun trafficking and reducing violence in Chicago’ isn’t actually interested in doing either,” the Heritage Foundation noted in a tweet containing a video clip of Swearer and Durbin.
“I read your testimony,” Durbin interrupted as Swearer tried to cite a specific example of selective prosecution. “I believe in all fairness, since we did not invite the Cook County state’s attorney’s office to be represented here today, that you shouldn’t really zero in on any particular individual.”
Durbin went on to say that the hearing was intended to focus “more at the federal level,” but Swearer countered by suggesting that a lack of local prosecutions would undermine any federal efforts to assist Chicago in dealing with gun crime.
The instance Swearer was attempting to recount took place in October in which a morning gun battle in the city left one person dead and two others wounded. Police attempted to charge five individuals involved with murder and aggravated assault, but two days later, all five suspects were released with no charges after Foxx’s office “determined that the evidence was insufficient to meet our burden of proof to approve felony charges.”
Swearer said the Judiciary Committee ought to be examining the consequences of “not charging five individuals who shot up a residential neighborhood … on a Friday, who none of which were charged, and were released on Monday.”
“How does impact the feeling of confidence? “How does that for communities?” the Heritage expert asked. “I think that is a valid thing to consider.”
But Durbin cut her off again, claiming to understand her viewpoint while stating “there is another side to this story” before pointing out anew that neither Foxx nor anyone from her office had been invited as witnesses to the hearing.
Later, Swearer vented her frustrations with Durbin running interference for Foxx, who is also a Democrat, on social media.
“Sen. Durbin held a hearing on Chicago-specific violence, then cut me off when my explanation was too Chicago-specific,” Swearer wrote Monday on Twitter. “The story he didn’t want you to hear? Police arrested 5 men who fired over 70 rounds at a Chicago home. Prosecutors released all of them without a single charge.”
Perpetrators of gun violence in Chicago reasonably believe they can light up a neighborhood on Friday, and then be released on Monday without facing a single meaningful consequence. @SenatorDurbin believes it's inappropriate to mention this at a hearing on Chicago gun violence.
— Amy Swearer (@AmySwearer) December 13, 2021
“Perpetrators of gun violence in Chicago reasonably believe they can light up a neighborhood on Friday, and then be released on Monday without facing a single meaningful consequence,” she noted further, adding that the Illinois Democrat “believes it’s inappropriate to mention this at a hearing on Chicago gun violence.”
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