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Former mayoral candidate launches independent campaign for state’s attorney

Caden Cooper 9 looks up his dad Christopher Cooper while candidate gathers signatures for his candidacy for Cook County State's

Caden Cooper, 9, looks up to his dad Christopher Cooper, while the candidate gathers signatures for his candidacy for Cook County State's Attorney Saturday afternoon at Wallace Catfish Corner. Scott Stewart/Sun-Times

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Updated: April 21, 2012 10:56PM



No fanfare, no balloons or glossy banners ­— none of the typical props signaled the start of a campaign for an independent candidate for Cook County State’s Attorney Saturday at Wallace’s Catfish Corner.

The candidate didn’t even deliver a formal speech, because, as Christopher Cooper, put it, “We haven’t really stopped.”

The civil rights and criminal defense attorney tried to run against sitting State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in March’s Democratic primary, but could not — his Illinois law license wasn’t yet finalized.

So he’s trying as an independent. And Saturday, at the popular West Side catfish joint festooned with politicians’ photographs, he began recruiting folks to collect a whopping 25,000 signatures he’ll need to get on the ballot in November’s general election.

Alvarez’ unwillingness to right past wrongs make her vulnerable ­— particularly in the case of David Koschman who died in 2004 after being punched by former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew, Cooper asserted.

“A special prosecutor would not have been needed, had the SA’s office done what it should have done in the first place,” said, referring to a Cook County judge’s recent decision to appoint one in the long simmering, controversial case.

“A prosecutor’s office shouldn’t just aim to convict. I think we also have a responsibility to exonerate, to clear people, when the evidence is there, and that means when you know that someone likely didn’t commit a crime, you don’t follow through with a grand jury and a trial,” he said.

Cooper is a former U.S. Marine and a former Washington, D.C., police officer.

He was a Fulbright scholar in Denmark and Iceland. The River North resident, who practices law in Illinois and Indiana, had campaigned unsuccessfully for mayor of Chicago in 2010.

Republican voters in Cook County have chosen Lori Yokoyama of Hyde Park, an attorney active in civic and charitable groups, as their nominee. Yokoyamalost a race for 4th Ward alderman last year.



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