Durbin cuts off witness from conservative group during Chicago gun violence hearing

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Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., attempted multiple times to cut off testimony from a conservative group’s witness during a hearing on violence in Chicago.

During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Combating Gun Trafficking and Reducing Violence in Chicago” on Monday, Heritage Foundation legal fellow Amy Swearer was cut off by Durbin while attempting to cite data about selective prosecution in Chicago.

Sen. Dick Durbin.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

“I read your testimony,” Durbin interrupted as Swearer attempted to cite a specific instance of selective prosecution. “I believe in all fairness, since we did not invite the Cook County state’s attorney’s office to be represented here today, that you shouldn’t really zero in on any particular individual.”

Swearer was attempting to cite an incident in October in which a mid-morning gun fight in Chicago left one person dead and two wounded, with police seeking charges such as murder and aggravated battery against five individuals involved. But just two days later, all the suspects were released without charges after the Cook County state’s attorney “determined that the evidence was insufficient to meet our burden of proof to approve felony charges.”

(Chicago Police Department)

Swearer was undeterred by Durbin’s interruption, arguing that the committee should be looking at the consequences of “not charging five individuals who shot up a residential neighborhood … on a Friday, who none of which were charged, and were released on Monday.”

“How does impact the feeling of confidence?” she asked. “How does that for communities? I think that is a valid thing to consider.”

Durbin again cut Swearer off, saying he understood her point while arguing that “there is another side to this story” and then again pointing out the Cook County state’s attorney was not invited to the hearing.

After the hearing, Swearer took to social media to vent her frustrations with the Illinois senator.

“Sen. Durbin held a hearing on Chicago-specific violence, then cut me off when my explanation was too Chicago-specific,” Swearer said on Twitter Monday. “The story he didn’t want you to hear? Police arrested 5 men who fired over 70 rounds at a Chicago home. Prosecutors released all of them without a single charge.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
(Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

“Perpetrators of gun violence in Chicago reasonably believe they can light up a neighborhood on Friday, and then be released on Monday without facing a single meaningful consequence,” she continued, adding that Durbin “believes it’s inappropriate to mention this at a hearing on Chicago gun violence.”

Durbin’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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