As we honor their memories and mark the 50th year since the assassination of Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton and Panther Mark Clark we should also remember the name Ed Hanrahan.
Hanrahan was the Cook County States Attorney – our name for the District Attorney – at the time of the murder of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.
Hanrahan was charged but never convicted of engaging in a conspiracy with the FBI to kill Chairman Fred and Mark Clark. But the African American voters and progressives turned him out of office in a stunning rebuke to the Cook County Democratic machine.
Hanrahan was beaten by Bernard Carey, a Republican, in Hanrahan’s bid for re‐election.
Crucial to Carey’s victory was the first massive defection of the Black voters who had long been a dependable base for the Machine’s organization.
A defection that continued with the election of Harold Washington and Lori Lightfoot.
Carey had captured 10 of the city’s 14 all‐black wards and had run well in the four others.
As a side bar, it was likely that the Democratic Machine, focusing its efforts on saving Hanrahan, tried to suppress the African American vote, thus denying Senator George McGovern a chance to carry Cook County and Illinois in the Presidential race that elected Richard Nixon.
Throwing Hanrahan out of office was very satisfying and was echoed in 2016 when Kim Foxx defeated Anita Alvarez as states attorney for Cook County.
Alvarez, along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, were implicated in the cover-up of the police murder of 16-year old Laquan McDonald.
I thought about Alvarez and Hanrahan last night as news came in that our friend Chesa Boudin was elected San Francisco District Attorney.
Tossing out racist District Attorneys is satisfying. Electing social justice DAs is even more satisfying.
Some on the Left may be ambivalent about a movement to elect social-justice prosecutors, arguing that a prosecutor is a prosecutor.
But not me.
Having Larry Krasner as chief prosecutor in Philly and Kim Foxx in Chicago has made a huge difference.
The United States has about 2.3 million people in prison.— and they are disproportionately poor people of color.
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, about 655 of every 100,000 people.
Since being elected Kim Foxx refused to pursue criminal charges in over 2,850 potential felony cases, many of them involving shoplifting. Before Foxx took office, about 300 felony shoplifting cases were filed each month.
In a recent count, under Foxx, that number has fallen to less than 70 cases.
Foxx’s office dismissed 2,300 drug cases that Anita Alvarez likely would have pursued. Often, the accused individual is sent to treatment and counseling instead of court.
With Kim Foxx as States Attorney in Cook County there are simply far less poor and Black and Brown people in jail.
That is a good thing.
Expect San Francisco’s new DA to follow suit.