Chicago’s Top Cop Fired
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired the city’s top cop Tuesday, following days of unrest over the alleged murder of a black teenager by a white policeman more than a year ago.
Mayor Emanuel told reporters during a news conference that he asked for Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s resignation, following weeks of standing by him.
“The shooting of Laquan McDonald requires more than just words,” Emanuel said in a statement earlier Tuesday. “It requires that we act; that we take more concrete steps to prevent such abuses in the future, secure the safety and the rights of all Chicagoans, and build stronger bonds of trust between our police and the communities they’re sworn to serve.”
The announcements came a week after the officer, Jason Van Dyke, was charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times. A video of the killing was released on the same day, prompting city- and nation-wide protests. That video shows Van Dyke gunning down McDonald, 17, in the middle of a street on Oct. 20, 2014 as McDonald was walking away from police who had confronted him. Van Dyke, 37, was released from jail on Monday after posting bond on a $1.5 million bail.
Emanuel, McCarthy and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, have faced stiff criticism for taking 13 months to release a video of the 2014 shooting and to charge Van Dyke.
Mayor Emanuel also announced the creation of a new police accountability task force for Chicago.
The new task force, which will be advised by former Massachusetts Governor and Chicago native Deval Patrick, will review the system of accountability, oversight and training in the police department, Mayor Emanuel said.. Patrick also served as U.S. Assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton. The five-member panel will recommend reforms to improve independent oversight of police misconduct, ensure officers with repeated complaints are evaluated and establish a process for release of videos of police-involved incidents, Emanuel said. Its recommendations will be presented to the mayor and city council by March 31, 2016.
High-profile killings of black men at the hands of mainly white law enforcement officials in U.S. cities over the past two years have prompted demonstrations across the country, and have stoked a national debate on race relations and police tactics.