Deputy State's Attorney Cynthia Jones said that having city police and prosecutors participating in the review could pose a conflict of interest. Not only would investigators be evaluating their own work or that of colleagues, she said, but each had different objectives. Police judge cases on whether there is probable cause, while prosecutors look at whether the case is "viable" and has enough evidence to be prosecuted, she said.
"We have a history around here," Kraft said. "I do not want the state's attorney's office to come back and say, 'We told you so.' They've got to be all in or not in at all."
During the hearing, Kraft asked questions about how the prosecutor's office determined whether cases were viable. Afterward, he said his line of questioning stemmed from a belief that police officers' shelving cases might have been fueled in part by a belief that prosecutors would not try complicated cases.
"I think some of the officers, some of the detectives were frustrated," he said. "I don't want to start a fight in this case, because this issue is too important. But the frustration is that the state's attorney's office will not take a case unless they absolutely know they can win it."
Council members also sought to expand the membership of the review team, with Young asking that Kraft and a representative from the sheriff's office be included. Clarke requested that a representative from the city's Commission for Women be added.
A follow-up hearing was scheduled for Dec. 1.