Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel dismissed police chief Gerry McCarthy on Tuesday in an abrupt move widely attributed to the furor over the release of a police dash-cam video which captured the October 2014 shooting death of a teen at the hands of a Chicago police officer.
Mr. Emanuel has appointed First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante, a 29-year veteran of the force, as interim superintendent.
In a Tuesday press conference to announce the change, although Emanuel paid tribute to the departing superintendent, Emanuel admitted he had asked for McCarthy’s resignation.
“This is not the end of the problem but it’s the beginning to the solution of the problem,” Emanuel said. “It’s time for fresh eyes and new leadership to confront the challenges. To build the trust and confidence of the public and, at this point, in this juncture for the city, given what we’re working on, he had become an issue rather than dealing with the issue and a distraction.”
Mr. Emanuel also announced the formation of a new police accountability task force which will review oversight, accountability and training procedures the city utilizes and recommend modifications if needed.
The new panel consists of former Massachusetts Governor, Duval Patrick, who will oversee the panel, Lori Lightfoot, who is the current Chicago Police Board President, Randolph Stone, Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, Hiram Grau, former head of the Illinois State Police, Sergio Acosta, a criminal litigator and City of Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson.
Naturally, Mr. Emanuel has no intention of resigning.
The Bronx-born McCarthy was delivered to Chicago from New Jersey, where he headed the Newark Police Department for six years.
Chicago’s image problem exists for a reason: It is widely known as the most corrupt bureaucracy in the nation.
Support quickly evaporated for McCarthy in the wake of the gangland execution of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee, who was coaxed from a park at which he was playing to an alley on Chicago’s south side and shot in the head in early November 2015.
Adding to McCarthy’s woes was the shooting of Laquan McDonald in 2014. Although the city had negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement with McDonald’s family in April, the city refused to release videotape which captured the incident in its entirety.
Once released in November, the dash-cam video offered no exculpatory evidence for Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who has been charged with homicide.
Similarly, in September 2015, McCarthy faced a wave of condemnation for replacing a black assistant superintendent with a Hispanic member of the force. In response to this move, unpopular as it was for Chicago’s black community, the City Council’s black caucus demanded his ouster.
Under McCarthy’s leadership, the overall crime rates dropped; however, investigative reporters with Chicago Magazine revealed the city had been meddling with crime statistics to conceal homicides.
When Chicago’s exposé appeared, instead of conceding the chicanery, Rahm’s and McCarthy’s damage-control apparatus unearthed a most unusual exposition: They assigned blame on McCarthy’s predecessor, Jody Weis, appointed by former Mayor Richard Daley.
A follow-up story by Chicago in 2015 revealed the arrangement of crime statistics have not been altered.
Barring something of Biblical proportion, crime statistics in Chicago will be compiled similarly next year.
[Chicago Magazine] [RT News] [Photo courtesy EPA via The Telegraph]