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Chicago police demand resignation of city's top prosecutor after Jussie Smollett case

Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police and the suburban police chiefs associations have voted "no confidence" in Cook County State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx.
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Chicago's police union has demanded the resignation of Cook County State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx after prosecutors dropped 16 felony counts against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett.

The city's Fraternal Order of Police and the suburban police chiefs associations announced a "no confidence" vote against Foxx during a joint news conference Thursday afternoon.

"We are grateful for the top police officials here with one united voice to demand the resignation of Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx,” said Kevin Graham, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Graham said the vote was about more than the Smollett case, but noted that the high-profile incident undermined the public's confidence in Chicago's criminal justice system.

But Foxx said Thursday that she is proud of her record.

“I was elected by the people of Cook County to pursue community safety, prevent harm, and uphold the values of fairness and equal justice," Foxx said in a statement. "I’m proud of my record in doing that, and I plan to do so through the end of my term and, if the people so will it, into the future.”

Smollett was indicted by a grand jury on 16 charges of felony disorderly conduct after being accused of lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime March 8. The actor told officers in January that masked men hurled racist and homophobic slurs before beating him.

Chicago police said after interviewing two brothers identified as persons of interest in the case that Smollett paid the duo $3,500 to orchestrate the attack.

A little more than two weeks after the indictment, prosecutors dropped all the charges against Smollett in an unannounced court hearing.

The court filing on Smollett has been sealed.

The North Suburban Association of Chiefs of Police in a letter Monday accused Foxx’s office of ignoring crime “regardless of any collateral cost.”

"The fact that you and your staff have made these decisions without consultation with our departments undermines any statements you have made that the Cook County State's Attorney's office is working with us to maintain safe, crime free communities," the letter stated.

Foxx had recused herself from the high profile case before Smollett was charged and handed it over to her deputy, with a representative of her office saying at the time the recusal "was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case."

It was later reported by The Chicago Sun-Times that Tina Tchen, a Chicago lawyer and former chief of staff to former first lady Michelle Obama, had put Foxx in touch with members of Smollet's family days after he told police he was the victim of the alleged attack.

The Fraternal Order of Police has requested a federal investigation into Foxx’s role in the decision to not prosecute Smollett.

Foxx's spokewoman, Tandra Simonton, said last month that the Smollett case was treated no differently from the more than 5,700 other “cases for alternative prosecution” that the office has handled in the past two years.

“This is not a new or unusual practice,” Simonton said in a statement.

A former Cook County prosecutor, Saani Mohammed, filed a petition with the Cook County Clerk’s office Thursday requesting a special prosecutor to investigate the Smollett case.

Mohammed, who left the prosecutor's office last month to open a private practice, told NBC News that way the case was handled was "not appropriate."

"It makes it appear there are two separate justice systems, one for the wealthy and one for ‘we the people," he said.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he is demanding the actor pay more than $130,000 to cover the cost of police overtime from detectives who investigated the case.

Smollett has indicated he will not pay the fees, and on Thursday, the city of Chicago said it was drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County.