Citing lowering public trust in police in the aftermath of the release of the video that shows a white officer fatally shooting a black teenager 16 times, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he has dismissed Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.
At a City Hall news conference, Emanuel said, “Superintendent McCarthy knows that a police officer is only as effective as when he has the trust of those he serves.” This move comes in the wake of the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video, which shows white officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old McDonald 16 times.
While the mayor said McCarthy was not being made to resign over his performance, he did say that the latter had become a “distraction.” At the news conference, Emanuel said he had “formally asked Supt. McCarthy for his resignation,” adding that it is an “undeniable fact that the public trust in the leadership of the department has been shaken and eroded.”
During the time McCarthy’s replacement is being sought, First Deputy John Escalante – who was named Deputy Superintendent in October this year, and has served as chief of the detective division and commander of the 14th District – will be the acting superintendent. As reported by ABC7Chicago, members belonging to the Chicago City Council Black Caucus are calling for former First Deputy Al Wysinger to become the next superintendent.
Emanuel was also questioned over why he did not release the Laquan McDonald video early, to which he replied, “We have a practice, not unique to Chicago, that you don’t do anything as it relates to material evidence that would hamper, hinder, compromise an investigation.” He further said, “Yet it’s clear you all want and the public deserves that information. There are two conflicting principles.”
McCarthy, who began serving as police director in 2006, was successful in curbing crime in the city following a rapid increase in homicides and other violence. But last year, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division’s findings revealed that there was unconstitutional policing – including use of unreasonable force and violation of people’s rights – by Newark police during the time when McCarthy was the director, as reported by the New York Times.
Speaking about McCarthy stepping down from his post, Rev. Jesse Jackson said, “This is just the beginning. More needs to be done. Confidence in the police is at an all-time low.”