CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel ousted Chicago’s police superintendent on Tuesday, responding to an uproar over a white officer shooting a black teenager 16 times and anger at the Police Department for resisting, for more than a year, release of a video of the fatal shooting.
“He has become an issue, rather than dealing with the issue, and a distraction,” Mr. Emanuel said of Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy. He said he had asked for, and received, Mr. McCarthy’s resignation.
The mayor hired Mr. McCarthy, 56, in 2011 to take over law enforcement in a city plagued by persistent violent crime, and homicides declined during his tenure. But Chicago still has a serious problem with gang violence, in particular, including the Nov. 2 killing of Tyshawn Lee, 9, who police say was targeted by gang members.
But the biggest blow to the department came with the release last Tuesday of a dashboard camera video of the Oct. 20, 2014, shooting of Laquan McDonald, 17, by Officer Jason Van Dyke, which led to protests against police use of force, demands that Mr. McCarthy be dismissed and even calls for Mr. Emanuel to resign. The city had refused to release the video until ordered to do so by a judge.
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The video shows that Mr. McDonald, who was walking down a street holding a small folding knife, was several feet away from the officer and not moving toward him when the officer opened fire. The officer appeared to continue shooting after the teenager was lying on the pavement. After the video’s release, Officer Van Dyke was charged with murder; he was released Monday on $1.5 million bond.
Mr. Emanuel was on the defensive throughout a news conference on Tuesday, his characteristic fiery manner kept in check as reporters suggested political motives for the city’s moves — at one point, in response to a question, he said, “I just, if I could, beg to differ on that.” He was asked repeatedly why the video was not released last fall or early this year, while he was in a tough re-election fight; why he removed Mr. McCarthy and took other measures only after the uproar caused by the video’s release; and whether he was adequately …Read More
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