Race is looming as a major issue in the selection of Chicago’s new police superintendent, the Chicago Tribune reports. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and other black activists criticized a process that produced two whites and one Hispanic, but no African-Americans, among the three candidates presented by the Chicago Police Board to Mayor Richard Daley.
“I think the (police board) was fully aware of who the mayor ultimately wants to support,” said Robert Starks, a political scientist at Northeastern Illinois University who believes Daley favors Philip Cline, first deputy superintendent. “All black people are asking for is some consideration. The mayor is acting as he always does, like a dictator, and black people are making their concerns known to remind him that this is a democracy.”
Besides Cline, the finalists are Joseph DeLopez, a former Chicago deputy superintendent who now heads the police department in north suburban Winnetka, and Garry McCarthy, a New York police official. One top black candidate withdrew because of an illness in the family.
African-Americans represent 36 percent of the city’s population, the largest single racial group, according to the 2000 census. Chicago’s last four superintendents have been black or Hispanic. Of the 23 applicants for the job, four were black.