Rahm Emanuel Fires Police Chief McCarthy

An illustration of a police hat on a white background.

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has fired the city’s Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy over controversy concerning a black teenager who was shot by a Chicago police officer 16 times last year. The police resisted release of the tape that showed the officer’s actions for over a year.

“[McCarthy] has become an issue, rather than dealing with the issue, and a distraction,” Emanuel said. He asked for and received McCarthy’s resignation. The dashboard cam video of the killing was released Tuesday, proving what the officer had done. That officer, Jason Van Dyke, has since been sentenced to prison for the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke was the only person on the scene to have discharged his weapon.

The office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that she has requested that the Chicago Police Department be investigated by the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division. “Trust in the Chicago Police Department is broken,” she wrote to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “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.”

Protestors have been asking for McCarthy’s removal from office over the past week. Black city council members have been calling for his firing for a while over concerns about the rising rates of murders in Chicago. They allege also that McCarthy did very little to hire or promote black officers on the force.

Earlier this year, a study by the ACLU of Illinois found that Chicago police unreasonably targeted minorities for questioning or searches under a problematic “stop and frisk” practice.

“I have a lot of support and confidence in the work that [McCarthy] has done,” Emanuel said, “but our goal is to build trust and confidence with the public.”

People are also calling for the resignation of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who has faced considerable criticism from black and Latino politicians, and who is accused of moving too slowly in charging Van Dyke. It remains to be seen if she will resign.

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