Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today (December 1) that he asked police superintendent Garry McCarthy to turn in his resignation amid backlash associated with the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald at the hands of Chicago Police Department (CPD) officer Jason Van Dyke.
Per the Chicago Sun-Times:
“I have a lot of loyalty to what he’s done and him. But, I have a bigger loyalty to the city of Chicago, its future and the strength of that future. And no one person trumps my commitment and my responsibility to the city of Chicago and its future,” the mayor said.
“I thanked him for his service. But, we now need to make a move in both leadership, the commission, the body cameras are all a piece of starting to build that trust and that confidence and that’s essential to bring the kind of safety we want to see in Chicago.” …
Pressed to explain what his only police superintendent had done wrong, “I have a lot of support as you know and confidence in the work and results that he’s done. But, our goal … is to build the trust and confidence of the public. And at this point and this juncture for the city, given what we’re working on, he has become an issue, rather than dealing with the issue and a distraction.”
On November 24, video was released of Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times as he walked away from officers, which contradicted the official police story that the teenager was lunging at those officers with a knife. The city and CPD refused to release the video until a judge forced their hands last week. When the video was released, Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder. Public sentiment—and an article from The New York Times—posits that Emanuel purposely hid the video to improve his chances of being reelected as mayor. While activists are glad that McCarthy is out, they also want others involved in covering up the shooting—namely Emanuel and states attorney Anita Alvarez—to step down. Following the announcement, #ResignRahm gathered support on Twitter.
How will Rahm explain the handling of the McDonald case was McCarthy’s fault when his own lawyers fought to keep the tape under wraps ?
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) December 1, 2015
— deray mckesson (@deray) December 1, 2015
Just because you rightfully fired McCarthy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still #ResignRahm.
— J.W. Basilo (@jwbaz) December 1, 2015
A journalist just asked Rahm Emanuel about his own resignation. He ignored the question. #ResignRahm
— Thanks, Bastards (@MinkuAzad) December 1, 2015
“Emanuel dismisses McCarthy as Chicago Police Department superintendent” Next, State’s Attorney Alvarez. Step down. https://t.co/rCf15Ua2il
— Cheryle Jackson (@CheryleJackson) December 1, 2015
In today’s press conference, Emanuel also announced the creation of a Police Accountability Task Force poised to improve “independent oversight of police misconduct” and establish best practices for releasing videos of police-involved deaths.