By John Dempsey, WLS News
(CHICAGO) Embattled Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is out, a victim of the public outcry after last week’s release of a police dashboard camera video showing white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year old Laquon McDonald to death, firing 16 shots into the teenager’s body.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced McCarthy’s departure this morning, saying that despite many positive things McCarthy has accomplished, in light of the video’s release, “The public trust and the leadership of the department has been shaken and eroded. This morning I formally asked for (McCarthy’s) resignation. Now is the time for fresh eyes and new leadership to confront the challenges the department and our community and our city are facing, as we go forward”.
Emanuel says 1st Deputy Police Chief John Escalante will serve as interim Police Superintendent, until a permanent replacement for McCarthy is found. The firing came after McCarthy went on several television morning programs including WLS-TV ABC 7, and said he would not resign in the face of the public pressure he’s been feeling.
“No, I’m not going to resign. I’m not going to give up on this city, I’m not going to give up on the good people of Chicago, and I’m certainly not going to give up on the Chicago Police Department. I believe absolutely that there is a very large sector of the community who supports me. I hear it all day long, every single day. Honestly, every place I go people are saying things like, ‘stay strong, stay tough, we’ve got your back'”.
Listen to City Hall reporter Bill Cameron’s report for WLS News radio:
Despite taking steps to modernize the department, Emanuel says Garry McCarthy “has become an issue rather than dealing with the issue, and that’s a distraction”.
Emanuel also announced the creation of a five member police task force to advise him on ways to improve the relationship with the Police Department and the community, saying “The shooting of Laquan McDonald requires more than just words,” Mayor Emanuel said. “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 task force will include:
Former Federal Prosecutor Sergio Acosta.
Former Federal Prosecutor and Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson.
Former Chicago Police Deputy Superintendent and former Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau.
Former Federal Prosecutor and Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot.
University of Chicago Law School Professor and former Cook County Public Defender Randolph Stone.
Former Massachusetts Governor and Chicago native Deval Patrick will serve as a senior advisor to the task force. Patrick also served as U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton.
Emanuel wants the task force to present it’s recommendations to the City Council by March 31, 2016.
@ 2015 WLS News