Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez says she will not be “bullied by politicians” in response to calls for her resignation that proliferated this past week after the dash-cam video showing the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald was released to the public.
In a statement released Monday, Alvarez defended the investigation that led to a first-degree murder charge against Officer Jason Van Dyke 13 months after he fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The charges were filed last Tuesday hours before the dash-cam video was released.
“I am a professional prosecutor and I am not driven by politics,” Alvarez said. “I will not be bullied by politicians who do not have a full understanding of the facts of this investigation. I offer no apologies for enlisting the FBI to investigate Laquan’s murder because obviously the Chicago Police Department could not investigate themselves in this case. And I certainly do not apologize for conducting a meticulous and thorough investigation to build the strongest possible First Degree Murder case against Officer Van Dyke.”
Alvarez was targeted by opponents for the time it took to file charges against Van Dyke for the October 2014 shooting. She was also criticized, alongside Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, for waiting to release the dash-cam footage showing the shooting.
Some of the heat Alvarez faces comes from her political opponents, former prosecutors Kim Foxx and Donna More, who claim Alvarez did not handle the case properly.
“I’m a former state and federal prosecutor, and I can tell you most murders that come through that office are indicted in 24 hours,” More said.
Foxx released statement criticizing Alvarez last week, calling the delay in pressing charges a “heinous disservice” to McDonald’s family and the criminal justice system.
“By waiting so long to press charges in this case, State’s Attorney Alvarez has done the McDonald family and the entire criminal justice system a heinous disservice,” Foxx said. “She waited until her hand was forced by intense political and media pressure surrounding the release of this painful video. She waited even after City Hall was prepared to pay the McDonald family $5 million in damages.”
It’s not only Alvarez’s opponents who have criticized her, however. Several other politicians and activists, including former mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, have called for her resignation along with Emanuel and McCarthy.