Facing growing anger over his administration's handling of the release of a video showing a white Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times, Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy on Tuesday.
McCarthy's firing comes one week after Emanuel's administration was forced by court order to release a year-old video that showed officer Jason Van Dyke pump 16 shots into Laquan McDonald, 17, on a Chicago street. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder last Tuesday, the same day the police dashcam video was released. http://youtu.be/1Zz03rvyhIk
Hours after the mayor announced McCarthy's ouster, the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that she has requested the U.S. Justice Department's civil rights division investigate the Chicago Police Department's practices.
"Trust in the Chicago Police Department is broken," Madigan wrote in a letter 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."
The firing marks an about-face by Emanuel, who said in recent days he was standing by McCarthy.
Emanuel announced McCarthy's ouster at a late-morning news conference, saying he formally asked for his resignation Tuesday morning.
"I have a lot of support and confidence in the work that he has done," Emanuel said. "But our goal is to build the trust and confidence with the public. At this point and this juncture for the city, given what we're working on, he has become an issue rather than someone dealing with the issue."
Calls for McCarthy's ouster grew over the last week, following the release of the Laquan McDonald video. Protesters hit the streets chanting "16 shots and a cover up" and demanded McCarthy's ouster.
Van Dyke, who was suspended without pay after charges were filed against him, was released from jail Monday evening after posting the necessary 10% of $1.5 million bail.
In the video, McDonald can been seen walking down the middle of a thoroughfare. He appears to be walking away from police when he's first struck. Van Dyke fired the 16 shots over a 15-second period, according to prosecutors. Five other officers who were at the scene held their fire.
Police said they were pursuing McDonald, who was later found to have PCP in his system and was holding a knife with a 3-inch blade, after receiving a 911 call that the young man was breaking into cars. Shortly before he was shot, McDonald had punctured the tire of a squad car with his knife, according to prosecutors.
The truth is, Chicago cannot really move ahead with Rham Emanual as mayor. He should resign or be forced to resign. Officer Van Dyke had been on desk duty for over a year after the shooting and would not have been fired had it not been for a court order to release the dashcam video of Laquan McDonald being shot. In addition, Emanual failed to take action until he was re-elected.
Perhaps one of the most disturbing things about Emanual is the fact that he was once Chief of Staff in the Obama administration. Does this call president Obamas judgement and or integrity into question?