McCarthy Resigns; City Officials Sound Off

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By: Ashmar Mandou

Superintendent Garry McCarthy announced his resignation on Tuesday at a press conference aside Mayor Rahm Emanuel who pressed for McCarthy’s decision. The announcement came after days of protests around Chicago over the death of Laquan McDonald, a black 17 year-old who was fatally shot 16 times by Police Officer Jason Van Dyke. “This morning, I formally asked for his resignation,” said Emanuel. “Everyone has a role to play, and I’m just as responsible and accountable as everyone else in working toward that solution.” In the last week, protesters have urged for McCarthy’s resignation in response to the handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting in October 2014. Last week, the city released a police dashcam video of the shooting after a judge ordered it to be made public. On Tuesday, after the press conference Attorney General Lisa Madigan requested the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to initiate an investigation to determine whether practices by the Chicago Police Department violate the Constitution and federal law.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Madigan asked for an investigation into the Chicago Police Department’s ‘use of force; the adequacy of its review; allegations of misconduct; and whether there exists a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing.’ “The shocking death of Laquan McDonald is the latest tragedy in our city that highlights serious questions about the use of unlawful and excessive force by Chicago police officers and the lack of accountability for such abuse. Trust in the Chicago Police Department is broken. Chicago cannot move ahead and rebuild trust between the police and the community without an outside, independent investigation into its police department to improve policing practices. I know the vast majority of officers in the Chicago Police Department serve with bravery, honor, and integrity. The children in all of Chicago’s communities deserve to grow up in a city in which they are protected and served by the police,” said Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Mayor Emanuel announced John Escalante as acting CPD Supt.

Upon McCarthy’s resignation, several aldermen sounded off and insisted the Mayor do more.

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“After 13 months of secrecy, stonewalling and obfuscation, the public finally saw the video. It became clear that we had been lied to. The McDonald family had been lied to. The entire city had been lied to” said Alderman John Arena. “We cannot wait another 122 days to hear the results of closed door meetings of this new investigative task force.”

“The removal of Supt. McCarthy is a first step, but only one step, on the path to correcting the systemic problems which led to the death of Laquan McDonald and the ensuing cover-up” said Alderman Leslie Hairston. “We do not celebrate today, for there is much to be done.”

“We again insist that a thorough examination of the regulations, policies and procedures as well as the culture within the CPD be conducted with urgency, so that the gaps and loopholes be closed,” said Alderman Ricardo Muñoz. “We need a new culture of transparency and strong accountability from top to bottom. We will work in pursuit of these goals.”

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“As members of the Progressive Caucus, we join with all people of conscience in our city in condolences for the McDonald family, for whom the loss of a son and brother is a wound which cannot yet heal,” said Alderman Toni Foulkes. “We applaud the peaceful and principled protests which have continued to demand that justice be done in this case. And we recommit to working with all of our constituents, as well as with those in government and in every corner of our city, for a Chicago that is more just, more peaceful and more nurturing to all its residents.”

“After 400 days of closed door conversations at Mayor Emanuel’s office on Laquan McDonald’s murder, Mayor Emanuel now asks Chicagoans to wait 122 days for recommendations from his appointed task force. Chicago doesn’t need more closed door meetings, we need an independent investigation, and a transparent and inclusive conversation on police accountability reform. “The resignation of Superintendent Garry McCarthy was a step in the right direction, but the Council must now work to hold hearings on police accountability and support an independent investigation that will give us a full account of what appears to be an official cover up of Laquan McDonald’s murder.”

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