On Jan. 20, Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-7th), Alderman Isaac Carothers (D-29th) and, State Rep. La’Shawn K. Ford (D-8th), were on hand at Grandma Sally’s Restaurant, 5225 W. Madison St., in support of Howard Brookins. Brookins is currently running for Cook County State’s Attorney.
Prior to the endorsement event, Brookins spoke about his goals if elected.
Since 2003, Brookins has served as alderman of the 21st Ward. However, he believes that as state’s attorney of Cook County, he can effect the change that he says has “long eluded the state of Illinois.”
Among his goals if elected, Brookins wants to bring the state’s attorney’s office up to date by eliminating the anachronistic system of index cards and binders to record case information and installing a system that will file cases in a computer database.
He also wants to assign more legal aides to investigate consumer fraud cases-a plan that reflects the feelings of those who have visited his Internet site.
On the site, visitors were asked what was the most important issue facing the state’s attorney. A majority of visitors (54 percent) voted that consumer fraud was the most pressing issue. This figure was more than the votes for crime reduction, wrongful prosecution and corruption combined.
“Can you believe there are only five attorneys assigned to handle consumer fraud cases in all of Cook County?” asked Brookins. “No wonder senior citizens are so upset. They are the primary victims of these crimes.”
Brookins argues that he wants to address the disparity between the prosecution of cases in minority communities as opposed to those in white communities, as well as the what many feel is biased treatment of African-Americans by local police.
“If Congressman [Danny] Davis and [State] Senator [James] Meeks can be hassled by police, anyone can,” said Brookins. “I feel that I am the only candidate that can change the culture of this office and assure that this does not continue.”
Brookins says that prosecuting cases of officer misconduct to the full extent is the first step in changing the climate of police brutality issues in minority areas.
He is especially interested in bringing to justice former police commander Jon Burge, who was accused of torturing up to 100 black men while a member of the Chicago Police Department. This would be a formidable task considering the fact that the statute of limitations on the case has already expired.
Nevertheless, Brookins says that he and Congressman Bobby Rush have conducted judiciary committee meetings on the case and intend to “embarrass the police department into reopening the case,” if necessary.
Brookins does face questions of his experience. Although he has worked as a public defender, criminal lawyer and trial lawyer, some party leaders and voters want their state’s attorney to have 20 or more years of experience of assorted casework.
In answering the experience argument, Brookins pointed to Richard M. Daley’s election as state’s attorney in 1980 at a time when the current mayor was only 38.
“He had not worked for over 20 year’s as a law professional at 38,” Brookins said.
Brookins attended Mendel Catholic High School, Southern Illinois University and Northern Illinois University. He has been married to his second wife for two years and is the father of two.
If elected, Brookins would be the first African-American state’s attorney voted into office.
In 1989, Cecil Partee was appointed Cook County State’s Attorney when Richard M. Daley left the office to pursue the mayoral seat. However, he was defeated when he ran for the office in 1990.